Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Tuesday, once again!

Breakfast: kale/spinach/tomato/basil and goat cheese omelet, iced mate with honey.  Woke up this morning to (finally!) a sprinkling of sparkling snow and the tantalizing prospect of maybe eventually beginning studying for a final exam on Thursday instead of using my day off to escape to the snowy mountains.  Ah, to be a busy, working adult/student in Colorado in the winter.  Oh well, soon enough there will be lots more snow and many more days to ski.  Meanwhile, I need to pass my chem exam.

I also woke up with sore abs.  What? you ask.  Don't sore abs require some sort of activity to actually work those abs?  Well, yes!  Since I updated last week, I have run four more times and twice done lift-y things at the gym, including incline sit-ups, hence the sore lower abs.  I have decided to try something just slightly different.  Instead of running with the intention of gradually increasing my mileage for some long-distance race, I am focusing on a broader goal: strength and a solid base fitness level.  I have only been running between 2.5 and 3 miles, which is actually working out pretty well.

Here is a fun update: it has been six weeks since I last received IVIg.  (Immune-replacement therapy I'd been receiving since June 2011.  The chemo sapped my body's ability to produce its own secondary immune response).  I wasn't making my own immunoglobulins, so my doctor out here determined it was in my best interest to receive an infusion of someone else's immunoglobulins every three weeks.  Okay, fine, good, I stopped having chronic sinus infections, slept through the night, changed my diet, stopped having debilitating intestinal issues, blah blah.  And then, six weeks ago, I transferred my care from the children's hospital I had been going to to the adult hospital across the street.  The adult hematologist/oncologist I met with six weeks ago had a different plan for me.  He wanted me to NOT receive the immune therapy every three weeks, reasoning that it isn't necessarily that healthy to so frequently receive blood products.  Are they really doing all that much for me, anyway?  I have this long-term goal to eventually be off all medications and hospital infusions (including IVIg!).  So, while acknowledging my trepidation of just letting my immune system slowly get worse concurrently with flu season, I agreed to pause the IVIg and see what happens with the directive to contact my doctor Immediately if I started feeling sick or if any of my old symptoms came back.

Like I said, it has now been six weeks, and honestly, I haven't felt great, but I also haven't fallen deathly ill (or gotten sick at all, actually).  I go back in on Thursday for another PET scan, labs and a follow-up with my adult doctor.  I am interested to see where my IgG levels are - higher, lower, how much lower... But anyway, the point of all this: with no external help for my immune system and a massive reluctance on my part to rely on any antibiotics, I am focusing heavily on shoring up my body and my immunity naturally and nutritionally.  I am going back to school for nutrition to gain some credibility so I can help others do this very thing, but I am still going to start with myself and start now.  So, while I would love to train for another marathon, I know that running those distances throughout winter is not the smartest choice for my body.  Much more important is to focus on overall health - shorter running distances, strength training, perhaps yoga... Skiing! 

And, of course, food.  I would really like to add more vegetables to my diet.  Comparatively, I already eat pretty well.  (see: breakfast!)  But there is so much room for improvement, so many things to learn about nutrition and immunity and incorporating it all into a sustainable lifestyle.  I still have a sweet tooth; that isn't going away.  I love baking and am having a blast learning how to make healthy, gluten-free snacks.  (Side story: my roommate last night mentioned he tried a piece of the coffee cake I made the other day.  "Is it really gluten free?"  "Yup, sure is."  "It doesn't even taste like it!  It's really good."  Sweet.  I love when that happens.)  I have also found I have trouble fueling myself adequately if I run any longer than half an hour.  For some reason, my metabolism has skyrocketed, and the last thing I need is to lose any more weight.  As winter sets in here in Denver, other people can go ahead and get sick, but I will not be one of them.  I have too many more important things to worry about than viruses and bacteria.  Letting go of stress, maintaining a healthy weight, running, eating super well, and listening closely to my body.

We would all be a little bit better off if we ate more kale.  As the holidays progress, I just hope you can figure out a way to relax and take care of yourself.  Throw some garlic and spinach into your morning omelet!  Make an effort to drink more tea and less coffee (less, not none...).  I'm going to eliminate sugary beverages to make room for delicious homemade baked goods.  Hooray, here's to your health.  :)

Running just a little more, breathing deeply.

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