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Warrior

I am taking a bit of a rain check today friends! I often write my posts in the evenings, but I spent all last night laughing my face off at 30 Rock. Holy moly Tina Fey is hilarious.

And now today, my mom is making me go to the doctor because I have smallpox. Or something of the sort. I have a rash and seemingly normal symptoms become BIG symptoms when you have cancer and are on chemotherapy. Hopefully a benedryl will clear it up.

Until then, I want to give a shout out to Nuts About Granola and Cancer Warrior.

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Thanks for the t-shirt, for making amazing granola, and for dedicating the money from Warrior Crunch to me and my cause. Y’all should really check it out.

At least I can fight the bubonic plague today well fed on granola and in style.

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Okay, maybe I should just stick to writing and taking my medicines.

Snapshots

I secretly love looking at the random photos people take on their cellphones. Not everyone carries a camera on them, so when life or the mood strikes, the cellphone is often the one that captures the moment. The photos are random and don’t typically string together to tell any kind of story. Compared to say, photos from a vacation. But that is the part I love about them. Tidbits from life that aren’t “important” enough to bring a camera for, but I think are special all on their own.

So today I open up my iPhone for you. I admit, I’ve already shared a lot of these photos of Twitter and Instagram. Some I forgot about, or got too lazy to post. Others are just too good not to put up on the ‘ole blog for everyone else to see.

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Woke up one morning to my step-sister's cat staring at me from on top of the closet door.

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My step-dad's birthday with my two step-sisters.

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The sinkhole soon-to-be swimming pool in my mom's driveway. It's crazy!!

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I'll take them all please.

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How did this full carrot get through?

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Scenes from an afternoon walk.

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The many tortures of physiotherapy. Learning to straighten my arm by pulling it down with weight.

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My baby nephew!

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Waiting for the doctor after I found out I had a blood clot. Forgot to ask him for the Bieber sticker after.

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Peanut butter chocolate cupcake my family brought me after being admitted to hospital.

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This stuff saved me from getting an extra IV when I had the stomach flu.

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I am never too sick to eat potatoes. And they're chock full of potassium!

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Best/funniest "Get Well" card I received, courtesy of my Aunt Jane.

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Found an old picture of my cousin Ellen and I circa 1990-ish.

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Board game from my fellow foodie ex-roommie. One I actually knew the answers to!

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I do not miss the hospital food AT ALL.

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Cuddling with the poodle.

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Harry Potter with my sister Sara and step-sister Sarah! Yes, I have two sisters named Sara(h)

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Fuel to get me through chemo from the Clif company. Peanut Butter Pretzel Mojo is the best EVER.

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I stick two of these in my stomach every day. I am a human pin cushion.

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A common view from where I sleep.

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Bird in the oven.

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Schnitzelhaus in Aulac, New Brunswick. Mom and I stopped for a roadside lunch.

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Schnitzel with spaetzle. Ie flattened and breaded meat with soft egg noodles.

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First time schnitzel experience was a very, very good one.

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Falafel crepe? Pita is better.

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I usually have to share my bed with these two misfits.

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My wig! Still haven't started wearing it yet.

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Buddy with a star on his chest.

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Still get a surprise when I reach for socks and grab a cat instead.

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Get even more surprised when she hops out of there unexpectedly.

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My Nana puts orange marmalade in everything she bakes. Even chocolate chip cookies.

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Sometimes she snores.

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My dad's grocery list.

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Knitting!!

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Untangling said yarn because of cat.

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Yet another coconut flour pancakes fail.

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My sister Jane and her band.

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Under cover.

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Progress made over the past two months on the arm with the broken elbow. I can see my palm now!

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Story of my life.

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Burgers stuffed with brie, sundried tomato, and portobello mushrooms.

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My Dad, posing with some of our best burgers yet.

P.S. Thank you for the feedback on my last post! If you haven’t left any yet, I encourage you to do so. It’s been fun, helpful, and super encouraging :)

My Complimentary Therapies

Happy Friday!

So I have to admit, I was a little nervous talking about “alternative therapies” yesterday. I know it’s a topic a lot of people feel strongly about and I was nervous because I’m not entirely on that bandwagon yet. As a cancer patient, you get a lot of recommendations of things you can do to 1) make the cancer go away, and 2) help ease the side effects of traditional treatment.

I am always open to hearing new things in this regard. I want to have as good an experience as possible and will try anything that will make this easier for me. With that said, going through treatment is a very emotional, physical, and mentally draining process. I’m a strong believer that in order for therapies to work, you need to be 100% ready and committed to them.

That’s not to say I won’t ever try certain things, but I do know where I am in my “journey” as of today. I’m only six weeks in to treatment and often still feel overwhelmed by what is going on. Introducing tons of new therapies right now makes me feel even more overwhelmed!!

With that said, there are two additional complimentary treatments I already believe in 100%. They’re at the heart of this blog and something I will always use to heal my body: food & exercise.

As I’ve mentioned before, the food aspect of my healing is a work in progress. No one can overhaul their diet overnight, not even someone with cancer. So far I’ve been trying to focus on cutting back meat and dairy, while increasing the amount of organic produce and good seeds & grains. There is more I’d like to do, like thinking about glycemic index, alkalizing foods, etc. Baby steps!

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In terms of eating better, the best thing I’ve ever done is sign up for a CSA box. Chemo screws with my food tastes, making the idea of fruits and vegetables a lot less appealing. But having a box of local, organic vegetables arrive every Wednesday forces me to eat them up.

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The hardest part about eating all these veggies is that I no longer have the stamina in the kitchen to make wonderful meals with them. Food while on chemotherapy is all about simplicity. One of my favourite things to do is just chop up veggies and throw them in a pan with good oil and protein.

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Favourite flavour additions include pesto, sriracha, Bragg’s liquid aminos, and fresh cheese.

On days when I feel like I can digest raw veggies, I whip up giant salads with everything that’s in the box.

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And lots and lots of coleslaws. I love coleslaws. I take a peeler and just peel everything into the bowl. Usually I make my own simple oil and vinegar dressing, but sometimes I’ll make a creamy dressing using thinned out laughing cow cheese.

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This dressing, by the way, is gross. Don’t do it.

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Coleslaw is either the side dish or the main show. Here dressed up with goat cheese, olives, and plain grilled pork.

I also get a lot of herbs in the CSA, which has led to some great meat toppers.

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The best one so far – caramelized onions and fennel, with orange juice, Old Bay seasoning, and corn starch. On top of grilled salmon. It was to die for.

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The chemo also has me craving lots of comfort food (okay, maybe it’s just because I’m sick!). I love cooking up Annie’s shells as a treat with Rain Coast canned tuna (ridiculously expensive but ridiculously good) and some green veggies from the CSA box. I highly recommend adding smoked paprika to your mac and cheese for some added oomph!

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Cutting back to one meat serving a day as been a bit of a challenge for me, but cutting back on dairy has been a cinch. I never ate much to begin with. I have been experimenting with new non-dairy alternatives, such as Daiya cheese, for fun. So far I’ve had a grilled cheese, fried egg sandwich, and toasted salmon sandwich with it.

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My thoughts on the mozzarella flavour is that it is tasty, but doesn’t taste anything like cheese. It’s VERY rich and buttery tasting. It’s missing that bite that regular cheese has. I would buy it again though, because I do enjoy the flavour. Just don’t expect it to taste like cheese.

And would you believe chemo has me hating the taste of chocolate? I know, I know. I do still crave dessert, but usually just dried fruit or a homemade cookie.

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Or a spoonful of marshmallow fluff.

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Favourite way to eat fruit these days is in smoothie form. Super easy way to get a bunch of servings in one go. I’ve been making smoothies using plain goat yogurt and they are really, really good. Goat yogurt is not good on its own, but adds a really great tang to smoothies, try it!

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Also drinking lots of iced green tea and Emergen-C. I can’t eat citrus fruits because they hurt my mouth (chemo breaks down the lining in your mouth) which means I’m missing out on my usual Vitamin C. A very important vitamin these days since I’m trying so hard to keep my immune system up!

Finally, there’s exercise. I can’t gush enough about how wonderful exercise has been for me during this experience.

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It boosts my mood, alleviates my pain, nausea, and fatigue, keeps my body strong, and gives me something to do every day.

After a crummy July, Moncton has had a beautiful August. So I’ve been taking it outside lately to get in as much sunshine and fresh air while I still can.

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Usually I put on a podcast and walk until it’s over. Preferably routes with hills or nice scenery. Can’t wait until i can jog again!

Then there’s dancing…

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That would be my sister and Nana dancing to my other sister’s bands last night. I got to watch her sound check before the bar filled up with germs – I mean people. Pretty sure good music and family are healing too.

Have a great weekend!

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