Thursday, January 5, 2012

CBS News Story

My mom sent me a link tonight to a CBS News story on Adolescents and Young Adults with cancer, and how this is a growing group of cancer patients. The story focused on two cancer patients who are in remission or cured, but who have issued stemming from their chemotherapy. Reading the article, I was reminded of what I went through, but it was when I watched the video that a wave a nausea and/or anger came over me.

When I was told I had cancer, before I had any biopsies done, or any diagnostic tests to try and pinpoint the cancer, I made it known that my biggest fear was that it was in my female parts and that I would have to have a hysterectomy. When I found out that it wasn't gynecological, my mind went to fighting whatever it was. At the time, before beginning any treatment, no one ever asked me about saving my eggs for the future. I was 22 years old, and I had every intention of beating cancer. I was also in a long-term, monogamous relationship.

I have blogged before about wanting kids and not knowing if that will ever happen for me. It seems irresponsible for my doctors, any of them, all of them, to not have this conversation with me. I know my prognosis was not good, and it only got worse once I started treatment; but here I am. I am 31 years old, married to a wonderful man, and I don't know if I will ever be able to have children of my own. And that sucks.

Here's to 2012 Being the Healthiest Yet

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have struggled with my weight all my life. But that struggle is probably what saved my life. Many women would be horrified to share their actual weight with the world, but in this new era of reality TV (with Biggest Loser and Celebrity Fit Club being huge successes), more women are sharing. I am going to join their ranks, as a way to help myself keep losing weight.

First of all, I am doing this without the help of programs like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. The big reason, I love food, and I love to cook. I cannot imagine having prepackaged foods sent to my house weekly. What I am doing is cutting down on, and keeping track of, my calories. This past August, while visiting Orlando, I purchased a Fitbit Trainer. I was looking for a pedometer to keep track of the steps I took while walking around Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. What I got was so much more. The Fitbit Trainer counts your steps, but also calculated distances, calories burned and keeps track of your sleep efficiency. That in itself is pretty cool, but what is truly awesome is the accompanying website The site lets you keep track of the foods you eat. There is a database of common foods, and you can add to the database if what you ate is not listed. You can also create meals, by adding the ingredients. Once I figured this all out, I cut my caloric intake down to 1600-1800 calories a day.

At my heaviest, I weighed 279 pounds. When I first heard this number, I was so disappointed in myself. Granted, in a lot of ways, I had no control of the weight I gained. When I was diagnosed with Hypomagnesemia (a condition where my body is low on magnesium, an essential electrolyte) in September of 2004, I was given daily magnesium infusions. The magnesium was administered in one liter of saline. As you know, saline is salt water. I do not know exactly how many liters of salt water I was given, but I gained so much weight, that in the spring of 2005 I asked my doctor if they could put the magnesium in a smaller amount of liquid. I really wish I had asked this question months earlier, as they were able to administer the dosage in 50 milliliters of dextrose, a sugar solution.

When I got married in May of 2007, I had lost about 15 pounds and was happier with myself. I think that came from the amount of walking I did around Las Vegas, while I was finishing my Bachelor's degree at UNLV. A few more years, and I had gotten down to 250 pounds, which made me feel better, as I was only 10 pounds heavier than what I was before I got sick. At the time, this was a number I could live with.

Today, I weigh 228 pounds. My goal weight (for now) is 200 pounds. My Fitbit website says that I should reach that goal by July of this year. That excites me, because my brother is getting married in October, and I look forward to rocking a great dress. It has been a while since I have looked forward to buying a dress (or any clothes for that matter). My sister will also be getting married in a little over a year, and that gives me an even bigger incentive to get my but in gear and get fit and HEALTHY.

November 2006, approximately 280 pounds

December 2011, approximately 230 pounds

What are some things that you do to keep off the weight, or live healthier after the chemo is done? For those of you still fighting the battle, do you think about what you will do once it is over, or is the focus on the here and now? What about for those who are just trying to live a healthier life? Any pointers, recipes, or just general support is greatly appreciated!

(NOTE: This is not an advertisement for Fitbit. I just love mine!)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

I can't believe it has been almost a year since I have posted on this blog. Wow, I guess this can be seen as a good thing. It means I am putting my cancer diagnosis behind me, as best I can.

The last year has been a pretty good one. My most recent CT Scan came back clear, which is always good. I am still in remission. I still don't want to use the word "cured" as I don't really know if I will ever be considered cured.

I did have a scare last spring, that may or may not be related to my cancer diagnosis. I was having major lower right facial pains, which was diagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia, but in true Lonnie form, my symptoms were much different from the normal presentation. I won't bore you with all the details, but I will say that after many trips to a neurologist, an MRI, and 9 months of Gabapentin (greatest multi-use drug out there), I have not had any pains in close to 9 months.

This year I hope to finish telling my story (which includes taking time to scan pictures), or at least continue telling my story, as I plan to have a long and HEALTHY life. Now that I have graduated from grad school, I may actually have the time to do this.

Happy New Year to all, and best wishes for good health!