Category Archives: Health

Looking For A Sign

A lot of people obsess over the future. The “what ifs.” They go over all possible outcomes of any circumstance they may come across. Fearing the worst, of course.

I don’t. When I lay awake at night, before the sleeping pills kick in, it’s these things that keep me awake:

After three days spent in bed, 10 days of a straight fever and the remnants of a sore throat and sinus infection, I was feeling pretty lousy.

-Jan 16, 2011

The doctors tell me the mass in my chest could have started growing six months ago, and my brain is determined to pinpoint when that exact moment was. I’ve been going over incidents and scenarios from over the last year, asking myself, “Were there any signs I had cancer then?”

In January, after coming home for Christmas, I was just walloped with illness. Namely, a 102F fever that lasted 10 days. Not normal. I remember looking up my symptoms on the internet and seeing a fever is often the sign of your body fighting off an infection, or worst case scenario, cancer. I clearly disregarded the cancer thing because that was such a silly notion for me, the healthy personal trainer, to have cancer. So I chalked it up to a sinus infection and figured lots of rest would help me get rid of it.

But really, a 10-day fever is not normal. And there were other symptoms. I felt crappy a lot. I always had dull headaches and would often get feverish chills without the fever temperature. After I broke my arm and had reconstructive surgery in February, any symptom I had was blamed on that.

I told myself the surgery was the reason why I still didn’t have the stamina to run like I used to. I was going 12 minute miles when I used to run 9, and I thought it was just taking me longer than normal to recover from surgery. But looking back, what if it was the large mass in my chest slowing me down?

Even after moving home, I still got fever symptoms every night. I had a gnarly chest cough come and go. Overall, looking back, I haven’t been feeling in my best health since before November 2010. But the symptoms were so minor, I thought I was just tired or overworked. Or the Toronto subway was making me sick over and over. Now I wonder, was it all the cancer??

I know it’s not good to dwell in the past, but it has given me something to think about apart from my looming diagnosis at the start of the week. I had my chest biopsy on Thursday, and then pictures of my stomach, pelvis, brain, and heart were taken on Friday. No tests this weekend, thank god, I needed the break from being poked and prodded and feel a lot better because of it. Instead, I’ve rested up, took my first shower, ate some good food my family brought me, and best of all visited with people I love.

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I am still on bed rest because of the blood clots in my neck. They’re only giving me a little bit of thinner until they know what kind of chemo I’m starting on later next week. I’m getting my bone marrow test on Monday and being sent for a PET scan in Saint John Monday or Tuesday. And of course, biopsy results one of those days. Right now I’m living in a sort of ignorant bliss. I’ve told myself that I simply have a large disease that’s just going to be really crappy and time consuming to get rid of. But who knows what the biopsy holds.

Don’t expect me to blog every day or at a strict time. If I don’t blog, it’s likely because I’m busy with tests, visiting with people, or just tired and resting, which is more important. I’ll keep you updated if anything noteworthy happens.

And please, if you’re experiencing mild symptoms, write them all down, keep a journal, and don’t brush them off just because you think you’re a healthy person. If it wasn’t for my mom forcing me to a doctor, I’d still be going to the gym every day with what I thought was a kink in my neck.

Thanks again for all he messages and prayers xo

Why I’m No Longer A ‘Healthy Living Blogger’

There was a time when I categorized myself as a “healthy living blogger,” or perhaps a “fitness blogger.” It was a time when I worked hard at the gym and ate the cleanest foods possible. I told myself I was the healthiest I’d ever been. I could run faster and lift heavier than ever, and physically was the smallest and most “toned” I’d been in my whole life.

I thought that was the epitome of health. I thought that health was something you could choose. But my definition of health is changing. Because of this, I no longer classify myself as a “healthy living blogger” and believe what is commonly thought of as healthy living is not the true definition of healthy at all.

Health is something you can strive for, but it is not something you have full control over. Health doesn’t stop at good food and exercise. It goes much, much deeper than that.

I really hate the hospital. I know that is a cliche, but there is something about that place that makes me want to turn in the other direction and run as fast as I can.

In the past few months, I have spent many hours a week at the hospital working with my physiotherapist, getting x-rays, cat scans, meeting with surgeons, and of course, sitting in waiting rooms. It makes me feel like a sick person, when on the inside, I don’t feel sick at all. Sitting in those waiting rooms, watching people wheel in and hobble out, it occurred to me that I’ve had this “health” thing all wrong.

It’s not about marathons.

It’s not about calories.

It’s not about how many push-ups you can do.

Because when something really happens to your health, when you are facing a much larger power with no control over your body, everything else feels so small.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t still try our best to eat well and exercise. But I’m also saying that to be truly healthy requires a lot more than that. It’s treating your body well. Not starving it or beating it up by running too much. It’s about knowing when to sleep and knowing when to stay up chatting with your best friend all night. It’s about not letting the little things stress you out. It’s about being with loved ones, getting outside, and doing the things that mentally stimulate you.

And if for some reason, health is still taken away from you, you’ll know you’ve at least fulfilled all of those needs.

It’s Not All About The T-Shirt

A lot of people say they do races for the t-shirt.

But did you know volunteering will get you a t-shirt too? And you don’t even have to train for months or get sweaty! You just have to be willing to get up early on a Sunday.

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I’ve always wanted to do a duathlon, especially after doing my first and only triathlon a few years ago. But I’ve been forbidden from biking by my doctors because of my broken arm. That doesn’t mean I can’t be involved in the event somehow!

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I have this weird relationship with races. I’ve done a tri and several running races, but haven’t done one in a while. I love the adrenaline and excitement that comes with racing. I hate the stress leading up to one and the rising cost of race fees.

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I would still like to do another race in the not-so-distant future. I’d actually been thinking of a half marathon in the fall.

But then I realized my fitness is coming back very slowly after the accident. I foolishly thought I’d have maintained my 10k base while recovering from surgery. But it took me almost two months to get up to a 5k again, and right now I’m only doing 4-mile runs with walking breaks.

Part of it is because I’m not pushing myself as hard as I used to. The other part of it is that I can’t push myself as hard as I use to.

Remember when I mentioned working up to using 10lb dumbbells in a post not that long ago?

I was proud of myself at the time. I was not proud in the days that followed, where I experienced awful pain in my broken left elbow. Ten pounds may seem like nothing, but it was enough to keep me in bed with pain for the majority of the long weekend. Enough to have me reach for my painkillers again. Enough to remind me that while I may sometimes feel my body is ready to be challenged again, it’s actually still putting a lot of energy into healing itself. And I have to allow it to do that.

So in the meantime, I will still do my short runs with walking breaks, and get my free t-shirts by volunteering.

Plus, I found a new running trail this weekend. It’s in the middle of the woods. I came out smelling like dirt and grass. It was awesome.

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Walking breaks are totally justifiable when you have to stop to climb over log bridges.

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