Wednesday, June 09, 2010

10 in june part one: health

The last month has been challenging, as far as my health is concerned. There is nothing seriously wrong with me and as far as the cancer is concerned, I'm in fine shape. Instead, I've been dealing with some unpleasant and uncomfortable digestive issues. Whether this is due to my age or the toll of long term systemic cancer treatment, I don't know. I just know that, by the time I went to see my doctor, I was feeling prettty miserable.

I suspected my gall bladder was the source of the problem but we had the benefit of a recent abdominal CT scan that showed that organ to be fine. My doctor diagnosed me with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (or GERD) and instructed me to stop consuming coffee, tea, chocolate or coffee (my immediate response was the somewhat ironic, "I'll die!" She also gave me some medicine. 

After a couple of weeks, I do feel very much better. I've only been eating tiny amounts of chocolate and I have had a couple of pints of beer (which didn't seem to bother me). What does turn my innards inside out is coffee, something I find to be fairly tragic. I'm now drinking a mug of Matcha green tea every morning and then, only occasionally having a single mug of half-decaf (and I am coming to accept that this needs to be a pretty occasional thing). 

I was feeling pretty bummed out about all of this (haven't I already been through enough?) until one day I was out walking the dogs and I got to thinking. What if I chose to look on this as an opportunity to clean up my diet?

I've also come to realize that fatty foods or eating anything too quickly can give me pain and heatburn. But I should be avoid junk food and mindless eating anyway, so that shouldn't seem like a bad thing.

When life gives you lemons, make lemon water (which also really helps with digestion and I like how it tastes).

Next visit to my doc, I'm going to risk being labelled a hypochondriac and ask to be tested for Celiac's disease (my sister has it, and although I've had the blood test, I know that it can result in false negatives) and also asked to be tested for a stomach bacteria called H. pylori (because a friend just tested positive and really I am a bit of a hypochondriac.

Keeping all those things under consideration, here is the part of my "Ten Things" to do list that addresses health:

1. Make soup twice. I've been having fun on this soup adventure. I've already made chicken soup this month. What surprised me though was that I took a recipe from my nutrionist and altered it significantly to make it more flavourful. On the heels of my made-up cabbage soup from last month, I am displaying a willingness to depart from recipes that I have never been brave enough to do. It pleases me enormously.

2. Do an average of sixty minutes of cardio five times a week (a total of 300 minutes a week). 

3. Start the Running Room beginner program and run/walk three times a week. I'm on track and on week two, which means I'm alternating one minute of walking with one minute of running for twenty minutes.

4. Follow the diet prescribed by my nutritionist, while cutting mysellf some slack (ie letting myself have a cookie or a piece of chocolate every day, eating exactly what I want once a week, cutting down on carbs and increasing fruit and especially low sugar veggies). If my approach isn't moderate, it's not sustainable.

I'm putting the strength training on hold in the hopes that July will be a little less busy and my gut will be healed enought that the thought of sit-ups doesn't make me puke (although I'm not sure if this is a real problem or just a dislike of sit-ups).

I'll save the rest of this month's goals for another post. What's on your to-do list for June?


Andrea Ross said...

Sorry to hear of your digestive blues.
Glad you're finding solutions and silver linings.

Lene Andersen said...

glad that the changes in diet or working for you - what a cool moment when you decided to look at it as an opportunity. Hard to do, but so worth it.

n my to do list for June is taking a step back and getting an overview of things. I'm feeling decidedly like my life is running me instead of the other way around and doing it at such breakneck speeds that it's affecting my health and sense of humour.

Christine said...

Have you also been coughing? Two people have written to me about GERD since posting on my blog about my chronic cough. One women ended up in emerg because the coughing and weezing was so bad, convinced that her lungs were full of cancer (I can relate). Another asked me if I am on Zantac or Ranitidine (I am). I think there's a link from the Ranitidine to GERD. I'm meeting with Dr G about it on Friday. I never heard of this before, and now you're the 3rd person who mentioned it in a week.

FYI - The Running Room usually offers a walk/run clinic every summer for breast cancer 'thrivers'. And it's free!

JuliaR said...

I was going to say what Christine said about the Running Room's free clinic for breast cancer survivors. I signed up for the one out of the Merivale store that starts July 29, even if I do have this stupid hip bursitis. I'll see what they say and then maybe just go and get the cortisone shot.

Marlene MacPherson said...

Hi I truly believe like you said that we are what we eat. I am a stage three breast Cancer survivor and a mother and out of treatment have lauched a new cooking show Marlene's Meal Makeovers. I would really appreciate any feedback you may have my website is and my blog is Best Health to you!

Nat said...

Well, I've been thinking about cutting the glutten. Unfortunately, I've been felled by a (relatively minor but I like to whine) spring cold.


laurie said...

thanks all. Christine, I haven't been coughing (although I've read that can be a GERD symptom) but I have been getting sore throats and had difficulty swallowing.
I did the Running Room Women's Only Program...I can't remember but it was a long time ago because I did the Half-Marathon program in 2000. I thought of doing the Survivor's Clinic but Merivale is the least convenient site for me. Sigh.

Average Jane said...

I've been dealing with GERD for years and I finally ended up with a prescription for generic omeprazole that works better than anything else I've tried. I can even drink coffee again.

nonlineargirl said...

As much as I love coffee, having given it up a couple of times (trying to get pregnant, being pregnant) I can see the benefits. Now I NEED some caffeine around 2 or I practically fall to the floor.

On my to-do list is biking to work if it would EVER stop raining here.

laurie said...

AJ- I wondered if it was GERD you had. I'm on another drug - Rabeprazole - which I think is in the same family and already doing much better.
NLG - when I was pregnant with my oldest, I found coffee repulsive but craved it again within hours of the birth. Then the same thing pretty much happened with my other pregnancies (although not as intensely). Biology is weird.

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