Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Getting back to it.

Toe surgery in April, finally able to do some walking without immediate discomfort in May, and by the end of June I was able to successfully put on my toe socks. However, along the way I was in the dumps that I couldn't workout or do much.  I tried doing some yoga, but that pulled on the stitches and the sore toe.  It took a while for me to even be able to put a running shoe on and then even longer before it felt comfortable to wear.  I could go to the gym and workout the rest of the body without being able to wear shoes. I had someone ask me why I wasn't swimming---um, stitches, and such couldn't swim like that and after stitches were out the doc said to still be careful about things for a week or two.

I was lamenting this to my yoga instructor last week, who broke her arm earlier this year. I was like, "you were such a stud about it, coming back to teach a week after you broke your arm and I was just hanging out on the couch after a simple toe surgery for melanoma".   

She said an incredibly insightful thing.  People were really concerned about her getting back to doing things with a broken arm and they think something broken is so horrible, and that I was having people think that having a surgery wasn't necessarily a big deal, but every surgery, every blockage in our path is something we have to work with and no two injuries are the same!  Also, that I also needed to wrap my head around the part that I had surgery on the part of my body that holds up my weight, Quirky! Oh, TA DA! Light bulb moment!  Right. Even after surgery, even in July and August, I am still flexing my foot as I sit on the couch or chair or wherever, so that I can keep stretching the skin that was pulled tight to make up for the inch of skin I lost. Every moment I'm still trying to find something to get me back to where I was and I can never go back to where I was, I can only go forward from where I am
I was SO excited the end of June was I *finally* able to put on my toe sock. It was still tight on that toe, but I was able to get it on and that's what counted. 

Then I went for a run and my lungs just were not happy with me. I felt like I had lost so much fitness level in the three months since surgery and that I was never going to get it back. BUT it turned out that I was coming down with some kind of ickies and that the lung capacity may have been reduced by that. 

In July I really just focused more on stretching, and getting to the gym to do weights. The gym we go to is a company one where The Mike works.  It's usually empty of people, or maybe one or two people there, unless you're there at 4:30pm.  It's nice to have a place to yourself and not worry about other people watching you, but it also means that we don't have a lot of machines.  Treadmills, ellipticals, one bike, one row machine, free weights, and a few weight machines, stability balls and weight balls. That's it.

My routine will focus on: 
Leg press/sled; 
leg extension/curls;
bench press weight bar; 
lateral pull downs; and 
row machine.

I was only doing two sets of fifteen reps on each machine, and-except for the leg press- was really letting the body choose what weight to do.
Let's examine what to do incorrectly when going back to the gym: 

1. Think you can lift a good deal of what you use to be able to lift: 

Get to the gym to find some ding dong didn't take the 200# weight off the Leg Press.
(two 100# plates with no hand hold holes). 
What to do. What do do.  Okay, let's just drop one of the 100# weights and leg press 100# because hey, you use to be able to Leg Press 150# and it's been a while since you've been to the gym, but "come on, it'll be like old times". UGH. ---lifted too much and my inner thighs hurt for the next three days, which meant:  no gym for the next three days. 

I also wrote a note on paper towels to remind people to remove weights from the machines so someone else can use the machines. And, if it wasn't done, it wasn't going to be my fault if one of the weight plates broke if I moved it off the Leg Press machine!  

Does there *really* need to be a (2) on this list? 

After getting the soreness out of the legs, I went back to the gym. 

1. Leg Press I started at 70# and that was quite well for me. Three reps of 15 each and after a few sessions, I included the calf workout on there too. 
2. Leg ext/curl 50#  3x15
3. Butterfly 40# 2x15
4. Lateral Pulldown 50# 2x15
5. Weight bar for chest press 3x10 
6. Crunches 2x10 straight, then to the sides. 
7. Row machine. 3 minutes (gasp, I recall when I did 10 minutes, but NO. I'm not going there. I am going forward from where I AM, not where I was). 

The first day back after that sore time, somebody put the big weights on the leg press *again*.  So I made another note.  I don't know who it is that's pressing 200# on the legs, but you'd think that person would be able to lift them off afterwards too!  

This first day back there was an older, retired couple in there on the treadmills. The woman told the man that I was on the leg press and he came over to ask me questions.  I told him how to release the sled, how to stop it, put weights on it, etc. Then I asked him if he wanted to try it while I was there (so I could supervise him if anything went wrong).  "No," he said, he didn't "want to embarrass" himself.  So cute, but so sad too.  I realize it's an age thing, a male thing, and a pride thing.    He did tell me the following week that he was on it and was doing good, at 50# and asked how much I was doing, seemed sad that I was doing 70#. I reminded him that I have been a runner, and he reminded himself that he is about 60 and has not done a lot in the way of fitness in too many years.  I said, 'you're here now and that's what counts!'.  

After several sessions of going to the gym doing these, I get to the gym one day and there's another guy using the weights. Great, I'm thinking, I'm going to have to share!  Turns out it also threw me off. I was trying to do my game, and then on the leg extension I was really struggling with the last set.  It wasn't until I went over to write down what I had done that I realized I had done 3 sets of 15 reps instead of 2 sets!  Progress! and no wonder I was struggling on those last ones!

Progress, wherever it is, embrace it with where you just were and know that it will take you to where you want to be!   


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Want to Run. . . Easy as 1.2.3.

The surgeon told me I should wait at least a week before running. I ended up waiting another month.  I figured this just meant more healing time!  Actually, the underside of my toe/foot pad was pretty raw, as I had skin that softened and then had to be cut away, like a blister almost.  I've been building up that skin by walking with the brown Born Sandals, helping The Mike with the fence (and standing on the feet for 4 to 12 hours in my boots), and generally just trying to use the foot. Something I found I cannot do:  push on the shovel into the ground with the left foot --that pulls at the top of the foot. It's not something I would do normally, but since I managed to trip getting into the car a month ago and bruise my right foot, I thought I'd mix things up.  
I try and try, but I still cannot get my left foot into my black Born sandals(above right), nor can I get a toe sock over the surgical toe.  

I thought I'd go for a run on Running Day (June 3) but that didn't happen.
Instead, my first run was Thursday, June 4.  I went about 2.8 miles that day. 
Clothing layout:  Athleta capris, Under Armor tank, Fox River socks and a race long sleeve shirt in case it was chilly(do you hear the manical laughter for Iowa June weather and 'chilly').  
Okay, I'm all dressed and ready to go for a run.

My thoughts include: 
Eek, will I be able to do this?  
Will people laugh at me trying to run?  
Will my toe hold up to the pounding? 
Will I need to adjust my foot and shoe?  

I grabbed my waist water holder and put in a 8 oz container of water in one pouch and my phone in the other.  I did remember a house key as well!  

I started the watch and went out the driveway. No music today, just going out to enjoy nature, my neighborhood, and see what the body can do.  I actually made it further than I expected. I thought I'd have to stop after a couple blocks in the neighborhood. I ran a little over half a mile and then took a walk break and re-evaluated. My body felt good-but strange to be running again. My lungs were not happy with me (the reason I started walking) and half a mile is more than I thought my aerobically denied lungs could do.  The next mile was a combination of running and walking. Running about a block, walking for a little bit, and then walking again.  When I got to the gas station I had the option to turn left and head home, or turn right and keep going on the loop.  I turned right. I didn't see anyone else on the street at all, but a few blocks down the road I was passed by this sprinter dude out of nowhere---and not even a "on your left" out him either!  Once I got past the water tower on my loop and to the next street I decided to just walk the last mile home.  I figured I had gone out for my first run in two and a half months and didn't need to twist my ankle or anything. This lasted for about half a mile, then I ran a block, then stopped at a garage sale(!  turned out to be a smoker's house-GAG!), then headed on home with just walking again. 
My time obviously wasn't my best, but it was my best run after surgery and recovery!

Since I am starting over again, I made sure to do a lot of stretches when I got home!  
Adorable minion box from amazon.  Had to share the cuteness of it. 

After the run, I ran some errands, then worked in the yard with The Mike --we're replacing our fence-- and had to take a pic of the pedometer at the end of the day.  15,000 steps!  No wonder my feet and legs were a little sore.  

The Mike has a sweet tooth which I do tend to feed.  I had an "ah-HA!" moment earlier in the day with the Immaculate Gluten and dairy free cookies. I decided to cut the cookie forms in half and make 24 instead of 12 cookies.  Each one does make a jumbo cookie and half of that would be good.
It worked quite well! 
One's missing due to cookie monster. 

I spy. . . . 
Out in the yard, one of the fence posts we set looked a lot like a curious and shy four legged creature. 
It just so happened that "What Does The Fox Say?" came on the radio about the same time we were setting this post.  :-)  

Fast forward to Tuesday, June 9. I signed up for my first race!  I verified with the organizer that it would be fine to possibly walk most of the course.  

What type of race is it, you ask? 

A Prediction Race!  

The local organizer has had a couple of these before, but I've not participated because they were(are) at 6:30pm and I am a morning runner, I had to get up for yoga, I was tired after work, I wanted to _______.  I had so many reasons to not do one, and then this year I thought "why not?".   $10 entry, included dinner too (which I didn't realize). 

In the car, getting up the courage to get out into 94ยบ weather. . . quite unusual for June. 
(Shades stayed in the car for the race). 
The race director/organizer did let people choose to adjust their times because of the heat.  I didn't need to, because it was just heat, not humidity, and he also changed the course to be run on shaded trails and not the open road.  

Whoa! Cool number. . . and a reminder that running IS as easy as 1-2-3. One foot in front of the other, faster than you walk.  That is the basis for running!

Only 44 people showed up this evening, though more were anticipated.  Perhaps the heat did scare a few people away.  We started in the parking lot and headed into the trail system. Pretty straight forward route. Keep to the right on the way out (two possible turns, but stay to the right). At the cone, turn around and then stay to your left on those return possible turns.  We finished up into the parking lot through a chute area. 

What is a Prediction Race?
In a prediction race, you sign up with the time you think it will take you to finish the miles. Tonight's course was 3.1, a 5K.  How long do you think it will take you to run this course?  If you're a runner who is very consistent, it should be fairly easy for you to predict your time. If you're a runner who has taken several months off and haven't really run 3.1 miles in over three months, then you might be slightly off in your prediction.  

No watches, no phones, no music, no timing chips, no finish clock at the chute, nothing that could aid you in how you're running, nothing that would make you sprint at the finish.   A person who completes a 5k in 50 minutes might actually wind up in first place.
I was off my time by two and a half minutes---in a good way. I over estimated how long it'd take me. The good news? So did the lady who finished slightly ahead of me, we both put down the same minutes (different seconds). 

What makes the races by this director the best?  He takes care of his runners!  
Ice cold finish washcloths for everyone! 

The Finish
Remember that part about stick to the right, then after the turn, stick to the left?  When I finished there was talk of the leader/fast guy who never came back to the parking lot. EEK! What happened? His racing friend had no idea what happened to him either.

After the race, there was pulled pork, BBQ, sauce, buns, chips;  ice cream, m&ms & Hershey syrup.  Not knowing what was all in the pork, I had myself the following: 
The chips were not too salty after a run and the ice cream became a drink, which was tasty. 
We all cooled off, ate, and then had finish prizes and door prizes.  Awards went to the top 10 people.  The 10th person was off by about 30 seconds, the No. 1 finisher was off her predicted time by ONE SECOND.
The gentleman who got lost? He showed up as everyone was heading to their cars. I have no idea what happened to him, but glad he came back in one piece.  

A reminder to get a full body check by a dermatologist for Melanoma and pay attention to your body. If something is new or feels weird, get it checked out!
Fight Melanoma
Fight Breast Cancer
Fight Pancreatic Cancer
Fight Cancer 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May brings new adventures

Oh, it's been so long since I've written, and so much has happened!  

I had a meeting with the oncologist. She ran blood work and it was fine. I'm not really sure why they run this, since the cancer wasn't advanced to where it was in my blood system.  I found out eating mac and cheese for lunch (even with half a can of tuna) 45 minutes before a blood draw probably isn't smart. Never thought of what my blood sugar would look like with the pasta carbs!  

I had to ask the oncologist. No one has ever said how advanced it was.  I had Stage 1 melanoma and it was almost to Stage 2.  It was good to catch it early. She said she normally sees people who have Stage III and IV. (EEK!).

The part I was seeing on the preliminary pathology reports was, "Clark's Level II, Breslow's Depth 0.5mm, nonulcerated.  Radial growth phase is present.  Vertical growth phase is absent. . ."

This made me think it was Stage II, but she said Stage I.  :-)  

I am SO lucky to have had that itch on my foot January 16, 2015!  It's the only reason I looked between the toes.  

It was such a great feeling to walk out of the doctor's office without the stitches!  Unfortunately, getting them removed was a different story.  It looked like I had 5 or 6 stitches. Turns out I had 8 and a couple were sunk in a little bit, one was sunk in even more.  Turns out the scab I kept having show up was where the worst offender was located.

Doc had a student/resident with him again, different one this time (third so far).  The nurse just stood to the side, as did the resident, so I held my pinkie wide open from the ring toe in order for the doc to have access---good think I wore a skort, lol.  I watched him remove most of them, but told him I was being a chicken and couldn't watch him dig for the hidden one. He finally got it and I assume I held the toe and foot steady for him.   I had bleeding afterwards from the hidden stitch and left the office looking like the above in my favorite Born sandals.  Doc commented on the "polish".  I told him I had to do something and since I couldn't use the toe spacers for polish, I opened my Jamberry stash of peel, heat and stick "wraps" for polish.  Above is Cabana.  They stayed on for about a month.

I have to go back in 3 months (not really sure why) to the surgeon.  I had to ask when I can run again and he said to wait at least another week to ensure I don't burst open my new seam.  Hmmm, I think I'll wait a few more weeks!  

Weekend breakfast:  Beelers Bacon, scrambled eggs with a bit of cheddar cheese, fruit, and UDIs whole grain with seedless blackberry jam. 
After the wound cleared up:  The toe had skin peel/exfoliate from the top and bottom.
The skin at the base of the toe is pulled tight. This is where the skin was removed on the interior of the toe webbing in the largest diameter.  
As such, the bottom is pretty painful and I'll have to work up to getting a callus or thicker layer of skin from where the outside layers came loose.  
Don't laugh:  I think my foot looks stained, but that's just how it always looks. 

TA DA!   Running shoes!  I can't get my Injinji toe socks on, so I went with my second best, Fox River no show ankle socks. Love these for under 5 mile runs.  No run today, just a nice long walk.  
May 13:  It felt SO good to get the shoes on. I was PUMPED for a walk. Figured a couple miles. Put on my sunscreen, my waist belt with a 8oz bottle of water and my cell phone and out the door I went. 

Um, yeah, so that didn't go so well. I wanted to turn around a couple blocks away. I made it half a mile away, to the trail head, and turned around to come home. Total time:  30 minutes. Yes, it took me that long because I kept stopping to adjust my left shoe.  Still too much pressure over the toe area. I think I'll sit with the foot propped up for a bit more.
Hubby and I did a new project. We had to move the grape vine fence in about a foot --something about 50 years ago they didn't really survey the property when it was created and the end post was an inch on the other property.  Hubby researched and created a nice tight fence for the vines and we strung them up properly. Then we added some pizzazz to the posts with the copper tops :-)

By "we" I really mean "him".  I should say hubby did this. I pretty much watched from the house. I think I was out on my feet for maybe an hour one night when we were stringing up the vines.

May 15: I decided to try this walking thing again!  One of the local jewelry stores has a treasure hunt contest. It takes the advertising dollars and puts them into cash or store credit and hides them around town on the trail/park system.  I went out looking today for the treasure. Pretty much a very slow walk with lots of stops. I found the following, but no real treasure. I was out longer than I expected (two hours, versus the planned one hour) and the toe was tender, but not completely angry with me. 

May 17 weekend was graduation for my hubby's oldest nephew!  Can't believe M is old enough for graduation, nor that The Mike and I have been together as long as he's been around!  
My sister and niece came to the open house and my niece--while she didn't say this to me--said that she was surprised to see me without a bandage on my foot!  I still was wearing open toed 'dressy' thong/flip flops with ankle strap, but the suture wounds had healed and I was going with no gauze.  It felt good to be that way, and I was surprised anyone noticed!  

After driving home, hubby and I went treasure hunting for a nice walk. Two hours in a car was long enough for my legs/ foot and his sore back.  
Beautiful river sunset.

May 19:  a chilly cold bicycle ride
Hubby laughed at me. . .I don't know why. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Most of my long socks are toe socks, which I still can't wear.  Thus, I wore my Susan Komen breast cancer socks my sister --fighting breast cancer--gave me.  The regular mountain bike cycling shoes are a little hard on the toe area still, so I am wearing my cycling sandals. 
Perfectly formed (okay, the roundest I have made in a long time) Chebe pizza crust with milled chia seed in the mix.  

Memorial Day weekend:  May 23 we worked on replacing our really old fence. Not sure how old it is, but we had it when we bought the house.  The nice older man-backyard neighbor said it had been there about 30 years if not longer.  I have been feeling pretty good about the foot. Friday night The Mike and I were out working on tearing the old fence out and the toe felt good for those three hours in my old ROTC boots. 

Saturday, I wore a cushy pair of my Fox River socks and we were out there for a good solid day--over twelve hours-- with breaks for lunch, dinner, and a few moments where I sat on a bucket.  For the most part the toe felt good. Mostly this was due to the whole foot hurting from being in the boots all day. The feet felt like I'd run a marathon.  The toe was red, but it didn't hurt any more than normal. [Fence is still not done]  
Sunday it rained all day and Monday morning. We spent Memorial Day watching PBS shows on those who Gave All so we can be free. Monday afternoon we went back out to do some tidying up. After about an hour my toe was getting rubbed the wrong way. It felt like a blister had formed at the knuckle/joint with the foot, but there wasn't anything there. I had on different socks I rarely wear and wonder if that played into the pain.  When I started favoring the foot, I called it a day, which was really only an hour after that. 
The toe is healing. 
This is about what the toe looks like most any day. Still red below the toe knuckle. A little weeping still occurs at the one suture site (the red dot if you can see that).  
Beautiful evening for a walk.  
[No, we did not walk along the tracks, nor did we cross the bridge. Safety First!]

This morning, Thursday, I decided to try on my other Born sandals. . .these are obviously a little more tricky to wear than my normal pair. 
First thing, I did GET my foot into the position and it felt okay. 
Second thing I noticed, when I tried to walk I knew that wasn't going to go well.  
Baby steps in the progress. I'm happy to know I can at least get the foot into the straps.  
The strap on top of the toe is going to take a bit longer before it'll be happen for an outing.
Interestingly, the strap between the toes didn't bother me. I wasn't sure since that's the suture site.

I have my dermatologist appointment this afternoon for my three month checkup. I can't believe it's been three months since I found out I had cancer and had my initial full body check for any other abnormalities.  Hopefully he'll give me something for my irritated skin from the Virginia Creeper that was growing on the north side of  the fence.  It's like poison ivy to me.  Even with full length pants, snap full length shirt, gloves and such, I still managed to get a case of the itchies.  It's actually the mildest case I've had though :-) 

Happy days. Explore new foods with the gluten free lifestyle and embrace change: it will happen whether we want it to or not. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Third and Fourth week post op

What a difference it is from week 2 to week 3!   Week 2 it still hurt to walk much and I was happy to keep the foot elevated as much as possible.  This third week post op I had more energy and I had a 'slap in the face' moment when I opened the door at 6am and thought, "Wow, it's a beautiful morning for a run. Oh, Carp, I can't run".  :-(   It was still a gorgeous day and I did some more walking that day.  Last week Tuesday (just under 3 weeks post op), I decided to try my cycling sandals. Once I remembered how to loosen the toggle (um, unclip it from the toe region!), I was able to get my foot in.  After walking around the house for a few minutes I said, "NO" and took them back off. A bit too much pressure on the toe area.
I then tried on an older pair of running shoes (three seasons back, but the back up pair I currently have).  I had to keep the toe region very loose on the left side and I thought they fit okay. However, after a few minutes I said, "not yet".  
That said, I gave it a couple days and tried on the sandals again and I thought, "well, let's try this today".  I went for a bike ride to the river park and back, going slow---I did have a treasure hunt reason for going and was keeping my eye open for some items to find along the way.  I didn't find any treasure hunt, but decided I wasn't ready to go up any hills with the pedals, so I headed back home.  I then switched to the shoes and drove to another lake in town ---for the treasure hunt :-).  The shoes just put pressure from the top down on the toe and that's something that I think will get better/go away and I just have to deal with in the meantime, if I want to wear covered shoes. 

I didn't get too far. There's a generally flat area and then the start to a hill that I love running up.  I got about a third of the way in the shoes. Sat on a bench and put the foot up and then said, 'Go home'.   Going back downhill went a little better.  I decided to try something and I ran for about a hundred yards and thought it felt weird and it's going to be a sensation I have to get use to.
What sensation is that?

It's the sensation of a drunk toe.  That's right. My toe is slightly numb. It feels like my skin does when I get drunk/inebriated. Not that I get drunk often, but I am a 'lightweight'. 

Dinner time: roasted butternut squash!  I grew up with baked squash and love it.  One of the things I tried a couple years ago was roasting it.  Fabulous!  It gets a little caramel sugar like on the outside as it bakes.  I peel it with the serrated veggie peeler from Pampered Chef, which has "teeth" that really dig into the skin of the veggie.  Then I cut and dice the neck of the squash, then cut the "bell" in half, seed it and slide and die that bit.  Place on a roasting pan, drizzle coconut or olive oil on it with salt and pepper and roast at 375 for about 30 minutes or so.   For some variety, I added a few large florets of cauliflower as well. 
Then I served it with some skillet cooked squash and zucchini and the left over Classico Roasted Red Pepper alfredo sauce.  

I also had to go to the doctor again. This time the primary care for my third antibiotic in a month!  Fabulous, I know.  I had gotten scratched by an unknown to me cat, so I did went to the doctor.  My tetanus is up to date and she said my rabies shots I had to get a couple years ago would still be good. :-)   She also looked at my toe and told me I could just put vaseline on the dry (dark spot) of the toe.  
Hanging outside on a beautiful day for lunch.  
An hour in the sun in the peak of the day will make you a little pink in the spring time.  

Friday I had some errands to do.  I included in the errands a trip to my apple tree. The blossoms were coming on and it looked fabulous!    Then I had to pack for an overnight trip.  Concentrate on packing. I found a pair of dressy sandals I had in my closet and wondered why I hadn't found them last weekend for the meeting.  I decided those would be my shoes to wear to the funeral/memorial on Saturday.  One of my mom's cousins passed away and my sister thought it would be good to go. She was awesome and went out of her way /drive to come pick me up as well. 

I made up meatloaf and manwhich for The Mike while I was gone. 

The overnight for my sister and me was at the Holiday Inn /Suites in Hannibal Missouri.  I was very pleasantly surprised to see Udis in the breakfast room.  I was sad to see that they packages were opened at the bottom right just slightly.  It was on all of them, so I think it was on purpose. 

The drive to St. Louis was uneventful and the memorial was as expected. 

We headed home shortly after, with a stop at Trader Joe's before leaving.  I had to stock up on the tuna/water Tuna Fish from there (an unnamed large tuna fish has tuna/water but their water also has vegetable broth which includes soy --WHY?) 

A few hours in the car and we were ready for a stop: 
    The shoes went well, until we stopped at a river town on the way home--Louisiana, Missouri.   Last year I was in Paris and Mexico, Missouri with my hubby, and I added Louisiana this year. Don't worry, there are a LOT of state and country names in this state!  We walked along the river stone looking at shells and the Mississippi river. I remembered fishing with my grandfather on the water of the Rock River.  And then I slipped on the stone and my right foot turned in a bit. I recovered without falling and without injuring the left foot, but decided those shoes were getting removed as soon as possible.  Sunday I was fine, but Sunday night my foot hurt. Turns out I bruised an area of the foot.  A few days recovery and it feels much better now.  
The wide Mississippi with the railroad trestle in the background. It's one of the older style where the west side swivels to allow barge.
Scenic overlook on twisty back roads to Hannibal.  The greenery in front is a steep bank down, then farm land, the Mississippi river, tree island, Mississippi river and then Illinois.  

One of the surprising things to me on this twisty and winding road was the bike signs.  There were several miles with no shoulder and huge blind curves which I would be fearful of any cyclist riding.  Then the road opened up with shoulders and eventually became a road with marked shoulders for bicyclists.  I found the MRT bike route sign to be funny. . . MR. T.  'I pity the fool' and all that. 
The apple tree in full bloom.  What a difference a day made! I took pics on Friday and it was just starting to bloom. Sunday it was gorgeous in full bloom.

Three (plus) weeks post op, I can fit into my Born sandals again.  YEAH! 
We brought in some lilacs and apple blossoms. . . . they were a hit with the Felix cat!  

This week I did more walking and stood on the foot while we were working on the grape vine.  Sunday we trimmed it and then decided this is the year we'll redo the trellis/fencing.  It has needed to be done, and the end post is on the property line (something that was done 50 years ago).  New neighbors want to put in a fence, which also motivated us to do this task.  Most of the time I just stood and put the weight on my left heel.  Sunday evening I enjoyed putting my foot up.  

Forward to today, Thursday. I went for a walk in my Born sandals. After about 30-35 minutes I was ready for a rest.  It took a few hours of elevating the foot for the foot to feel 'normal' again.  This rehab for running is going to take a while, I think.  

More yoga stretching done the past few weeks. I'm sure it'll be much easier when I'm not wearing a sock to keep the gauze around the stitches :-)  

Oh--good news. this past Monday I had my third appointment with the oncologist.  Just to go over the biopsy results which I had heard already from the surgeon's office were good.  The oncologist was glad to see the results were negative for any cancer spread, the lymph nodes were good as well.  I had to ask what the stage of cancer was and she seemed surprised I didn't know.  I had seen the original punch biopsy report that said Clarks (something) Level II, so I didn't know if that was related to cancer stage. No, it's not.  I had Stage I melanoma and it's all taken care of with this region.  Next oncology appointment in six months.  Second dermatology appointment at the end of this month. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


This week was an exciting one.  First, my lymph node incision is completely healed which meant I could take a full shower and--joy--a soaking epsom salt bath!  Ah!  It's the little things in life, right?   
For the shower, I put a washcloth in the bottom of the shower to put my left foot on, to act as a bit more traction.  This did work well. 
I do still have some of the iodine stuck to my little toe cuticle.  That is some hard to remove dye!  
After running errands on Friday, being out and about four solid hours, I was ready to put the foot up, but I also realized I needed to do something with the plain toes. I wasn't interested in trying to paint the toes without the toe separator items, so I turned to the Jamberry wraps I had in my closet.  I believe this style is Cabana.  It is nice and springy.  Too bad the left foot's nails are mostly covered up when I wear the flip flops. 
Ah, flip flops.  I found a pair of solid black ones with arch support in the closet. Mike and I had gotten a pair of these when we were on our vacation in paradise a few years ago. 
Pick me up food.  
One of the errands I had to run on Friday was to get fit for a new mouth guard for my grinding teeth. I am finally able to open my mouth about an inch, and a bit more upon pain and determination,which were called into play during the fitting.  I think this may be part of the reason why I still have jaw pain, though I also still have some water on the ears from that first week in April.  (yes, this sucks).  I ended up having to split the half sandwiches apart in order to even eat them.  The pain is really around the back of my ear.  Seven more days and I will have my new one! 

Keeping the foot elevated :-) 
Saturday I drove a couple hours to a Soroptimist member's home and then three of us carpooled to the region's spring conference. Normally, we'd be there all weekend, but there were factors as to why we weren't able to do that this year, the toe being mine.  Up until Friday afternoon I still wasn't sure I'd even be able to attend.  Friday I went all day without any hives itching and no Benedryl.   The Soroptimist event was the luncheon where they present the region award winner for the Live Your Dream/Women of Opportunity Award which is given to a woman, head of household going back to college to better herself and her family.  Our club's local winner was selected as this year's Region winner. $5,000 to her to help with college expenses. She graduates in two weeks with her bachelors and she'll be going on to get her masters in family counseling.  It was a lot of windshield time, but it was so great to see a young woman who has overcome so much be rewarded for her hardwork  and perseverance. 
It was a bit foggy on the drive to Lincoln, NE.  

Sunday breakfast The Mike wasn't sure what he wanted, so I made an omelet and pancakes.  We'd had about half a cup of mozzarella in the house for a while and it was used up on these omelets!  Bisquick GF mix for the pancakes.  
This week has been pretty uneventful.  The toe is healing, the stitches are still there. It's still red, but occasional numbness has no longer been an issue.  I have been bending it more and, when wearing my flip flops, I've been trying to do more walking on the full foot.  I'm even able to put a snug pair of socks on at bedtime without incurring too much pain.  This greatly helps my ability to sleep more through the night, without worrying about the gauze coming off in my sleep.  

This week I did some yoga. Modified yoga since I can't bend my foot with full pressure for downward dog and lunges, but it felt so good to be able to move around!  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

HIVES! oh--joy!

The song goes "Happy Happy, Joy Joy" and sometimes it's not all roses and sunshine.

Last week I had some itching near the site where I had the steri-strips instead of sutures for the lymph node incision.  I was reminded I had some similar reaction to glue/tape/steri-strips after my breast reduction.  Given that it was ten years ago, I figure I can be forgiven for forgetting.  
 Friday had been given an RX of Cephalexin to help with the toe in case there was any infection in there, though the doctor didn't think so.  I woke up Sunday with a little itchy on my right wrist. I woke up Monday to itching on the right wrist again, followed, two hours later, by itching on the left wrist. A few hours later there was some itching on the leg.  In the afternoon, some on the calves.

Tuesday morning I woke up to more itching and a couple welts in one location.  I verified I could take a Benedryl and did so, which meant I was comatose for a few hours. (other people have this happen to them with the pink drug, right?).  I was fine Tuesday afternoon, but Tuesday night the itching started up again and I had to take a Benedryl about 8pm, which meant I was asleep by 9pm. I also had to use an ice pack to help deaden the pain/nerve endings of some of the itchiness/hives. I decided to definitely categorize them as hives last night.   At about 11pm, I awoke on the couch to go to bed.  ;-)

Chilling at the doc's office. . .  
keeping the toe elevated.
This morning, Wednesday, I awoke to more itching, and more spreading of the hives.  I couldn't think of anything else I'd introduced, aside from the antibiotic, that would cause this.  Lucky me, I was wide awake at 6am, so I took a Benedryl to get me through to when the medical office would be open (smart, huh?).  

I had my appointment at 10:30 with my PCP.  She wanted to know if the toe pain after surgery was as bad as the punch biopsy she did. Well, no, but I was also on Percocet last week, so I don't think the two can be compared. She did want to see the incision of course and was amazed at how the surgeon can just remove skin like that and pull it together.  I mentioned he was close to doing a skin graft on it, and thankfully didn't have to--at least, currently I'm thankful. We'll see once I start running again and wearing my toe socks.

I'm still not going to show the back suture line of the foot, but it does extend up the backside.
I realized this morning that the sutures are blue thread, not black. 
I explained that I did have some itching least week that I contributed to the steri-strips since it was in the local area of them. I showed her the nasty red photo of my inflamed skin in that area.  She said she'd note in the file that I'm not to have steri-strips again.   I then explained and showed her the hives/itching on the body and how it's progressed to where it is now, mostly below the belly button and legs.  We laughed when I said I had to use an ice pack on some of the sensitive region spots last night.   Then she said what I was starting to suspect, I have a low allergy to Cephalexin and she'll mark it in my chart as such. I said I couldn't remember the last time I'd had Cephalexin, that I usually get Amoxicillin or straight up Penicillin.  Basically, I get to wait for them to go away, probably in 72 hours or less, and take Benedryl in the meantime.  However, if I start welting on the body, then I need to get an RX for Prednisone (short term doses, I've come to terms with).

In terms of baking, I used up the two bananas we had on hand with the Glutino muffin mix.  I added just a tablespoon or so under the full cup of milk the recipe called for on account of the moistness of the bananas. Very tasty and just the right size.
We had a package delivered by Fed Ex in this large box, which I thought was probably bike parts, but The Mike set me right on that. It was an (way) early birthday present (jokingly) for me: parts for the microwave.  New vent pieces and new vent cover (which was long).

As a result, the cat had a box to explore. Yes, he did fall in the box. Thankfully, it was full of a couple yards worth of air pillows so he didn't fall in very far.  

Dinner was Beef Stew made in the crockpot. To our individual servings, we added some of the rice I had cooked up the day before.  
Beef stew pieces
3 red potatoes
3 carrots (we like carrots)
1 stalk of celery for taste
1 diced small onion
2 T of Worshy sauce, (we use Lea & Perrins, in USA it's GF) 
1 quart beef broth

A couple hours before serving, add in a good cup of frozen mixed veggies. 

Now, I thought we'd be eating at about 5:30pm and instead it was after 7pm, so everything stayed nice and hot, warm in the crockpot and the mixed veggies were a little more cooked than I thought they'd be.  

Happy Earth Day. 

Keep warm and remember to carry in-carry out your nutrition packets in any race instead of leaving them on the ground