Monday, July 29, 2013

More favorite things.......

Last year I wrote about a few of my favorite things.  Well, I have a few more things to add to the list.  Many are things that I use to support my medical treatment.  Some are things that I just love.  and there are a few that are just a bit wacky:)  So, here goes:

 Lemons and lemon zest are full of anti-cancer nutrients. 
 I add lemon juice/zest to everything from my morning green tea to my post-workout recovery drink.  Tastes good too!
 Tumeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory known as the anti-cancer spice.  Some folks even take it in high dose supplement form, however this is not recommended while undergoing chemo as at high doses it may reduce the efficacy of chemo drugs.  I sprinkle it on just about everything from veggies, to yams, to popcorn snacks.  In fact, I eat it so much that my fingers are perma-orange!  
 Nutritional Solutions recommends a high-ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) seasoning combo.  Basically all of these spices/herbs are combined into one super-shaker for the ultimate natural anti-oxidant imaginable!  It includes: garlic powder, marjoram leaf, parsley leaf, sage, basil leaf, thyme leaf, onion powder, and celery seed.  I also sprinkle this on EVERYTHING.  It is super yummy too!

 Ok.  I admit that I haven't tried this yet, but I am armed and ready to use it after my next treatment.  Ginger is known as a powerful natural anti-nausea.  I will let you know if it works!
I am a firm believer in acupuncture and there is solid research that shows that it helps reduce chemo-induced nausea.  Well, sea band makes these little cotton bracelets that provide pressure to the anti-nausea acupressure points on the wrist.  Most pharmacies sell them for sea sickness, but perhaps they will help with chemo induced nausea?  I haven't used them yet as they arrived after my nausea subsided, but I will let you know! Note: I got the child size and they fit my small wrists perfect.  

 I am in love with these lunchskins.  These reusable lunch bags come in an assortment of sizes and are perfect for packing ride snacks.  They are dishwasher safe, BPA, phthalate, and lead free.  I use them for everything from apples, carrots, nuts, and homemade energy bars.  Plus they are a lot less wasteful than plastic baggies.  
Although since I started treatment again, my traveling schedule has come to a screeching halt, normally Shannon and I do have a tendency to travel a lot.  This spring, I fell in love with the GoToob.  The GoToob comes in different sizes (all carry-on approved).  It has a large opening for easy filling/cleaning, is BPA free, dishwasher safe, has a no drip valve that really doesn't drip, really! and it has a super cool lift and rotate collar that allows you to identify the contents of the toob (soap, shampoo, lotion).  I like it so much that I even use it as a refillable container for hand lotion.  

Ok.  No list of "some of my favorite things" would be complete without bikes!  Last week I had the opportunity to demo a bunch of bikes at Dealer Camp in Park City.  An Enduro-type bike has definitely been on my radar as I already have the ultimate cross-country hard-tail and dualie.  I am pretty convinced that the brand new 2014 Pivot Mach 6 is the perfect bike.  It kind of makes you feel like a super-hero on the knarly downhills....even when you're not:)  I'm all for feeling like a super-hero!  I'm also pretty convinced that the 27.5 wheel size is the perfect wheel size for me.  See below for further explanation. 

Unlike an Enduro bike, another hardtail race bike was NOT on my radar.  I absolutely love my Les 29er.  It is a rocket.  After sitting on the brand new Les 27.5, I am reassessing.  Like I mentioned above, I think the 27.5 wheel size may be the perfect wheel size for me.  I really noticed the difference on steep climbs where I have to power the bike over a root or rock.  It is just easier to keep the slightly smaller wheels rolling uphill.  Interestingly, stability on high-speed descents did not seem to be sacrificed and this bike can RAIL corners.  I had a hard time keeping up! I think I even have Shannon convinced to change our kit color to lime green next year to match the frame.  Matchy, matchy:)   

And, as promised, here is my weekly workout log.  A big chunk of the week was spent demo-ing bikes at Dealer Camp.  The way my body has bounced back after this first treatment has truly exceeded my expectations and I am grateful that I felt good enough to spend consecutive days outdoors in the mountains, hangin' with friends, and riding the latest and greatest 2014 models!  

Total workout time:
Mellow mountain hike/lower body/core workout
2.25 hours
Hiked w/ Dizzy & Shannon. 
Mountain Bike Ride
2 hours
Rode Park City trails
Recovery ride
.5 hours
Took it easy today.  Rode bike to run some errands. 
Mountain Bike Ride
1.5 hours
Demo’d some bikes at Dealer Camp
Mountain Bike Ride/Weight workout
1.5 hours
Demo’d some bikes at Dealer Camp.  Solid weight/core workout
Mountain Bike Ride
2.25 hours
Rode Mountain Bike.  Felt good, tired by end of ride.
Run/Skills ride/Yoga
1.5 hours
Mountain run w/ Dizzy.  Short skills ride on dirt jumper.  Yoga/core workout. 

Total hours:
11.5 hours

This week, I also learned the importance of rest days even when you are not "training" "tapering" and "peaking" for races.  I felt amazing on Friday and Saturday after taking it easy on Thursday.  I truly believe that exercise helps reduce fatigue and boost health while undergoing cancer treatment, but just like when I'm training to compete, a healthy balance between exercise and recovery needs to be found.  

One more week and then back to the infusion room.......As usual, I will try to jam pack it full of fun!  

Photos from the week can be found on Instagram!  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Living in Limbo

I have survived what is arguably the hardest week post infusion:  Week One.  It wasn't always pretty, I'm no superhero, but I persevered, kept moving forward (literally) and am feeling better every single day.

My infusion was Tuesday.  Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I was whipped.  No appetite, lost a little too much weight, and had to force myself to get out and move.  Moving helped.  There is something about sweating out those toxins that makes you feel just a little bit better.  But, I was also really tired so I figured I would listen to my body and sleep.  And sleep I did; probably on average 14 hours each of those days.  By Saturday, things were starting to turn around and Shannon and I did a very slooooow ride up Emigration Canyon.  The morning air was cool and it felt amazing to be on the bike.

Sunday I decided to incorporate a little bit of weightbearing into my workout so we took Dizzy for a mountain hike.

Chemo, in addition to my other cancer treatments, wreaks havoc on bone health and I will be subsequently incorporating more weightbearing into my health routine.  By Monday, I had enough energy to go for a mellow mountain bike ride and get through the day without a nap.  It actually felt like quite the accomplishment!

The other thing that happened this week, I discovered NadaMoo.

Like I mentioned, the first few days I was having a really hard time eating.  Everything tasted horrible, but for some reason, maybe because it is so darn hot out, ice cream sounded appealing.  Searching for a dairy alternative ice cream at Whole Foods I came across NadaMoo.  While not nutritionally dense, the ingredient list is short and acceptable, and I needed some calories.  Holy cow, this stuff is gooooooood!

I digress.  Back to chemo....

Having been through chemo before, I know what I am in for.  As I watch the world move forward around me, I will be living in limbo.  It looks something like this:  Have an infusion. Get kicked down.  Hard. Start to feel better.  Do it all over once again.  Despite the ugly cycle of cancer treatment, I have high hopes to stay fit and healthy throughout!  I am resilient!  Exercise helps me stay resilient! I can get through this!

As an athlete, I document my daily workouts.  Not only does this help me stay on track to meet my fitness goals, but it is useful when reflecting back and figuring out what worked and didn't work.  As I go through treatment, I will continue to document all of my workouts and share it right here on my blog.  Not only will this add some normalcy to my life-I've been documenting workouts since 2004!- I hope that it will help me stay on track and perhaps help others going through treatment as well.

So, here it is:  Infusion One (of 4).  Week One.

Total workout time:
Morning run: 30 minutes
Core: 30 minutes
MTB ride: 30 minutes
1.5 hours
Early morning run w/ Dizzy.  Core workout prior to riding to Huntsman for infusion
Ride bike to run errands: 30 mins
30 mins
Poor appetite.  Tired. 
Walk: 30 minutes
Stretch: 15 minutes
45 minutes
Poor appetite.  Tired. 
Easy spin: 30 minutes
Walk: 30 minutes
1 hour
Poor appetite.  Tired.
Road ride: 1.5 hours
1.5 hours
A little more energy today.  Mellow ride up Emigration Canyon.
Hike: 1.25 hours
Yoga: 30 minutes
1.75 hours
Appetite improving. 
MTB ride: 1.75 hours
1.75 hours
More energy.  No nap needed today.  Had acupuncture at Huntsman. 

Total hours:
8.25 hours

On a lighter note, I bought this amazing lounge chair with hopes of relaxing on our back porch and watching the sun set.  My little Dizzy seems to think it is pretty amazing too.  Little stinker can be found lounging EVERY SINGLE DAY!  The tough life of a lazy hound puppy!  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pinch me

The past few weeks I have spent a tremendous amount of time crossing off my summer bucket list of high mountain rides.  I frequently felt the need to pinch myself that these pristine, majestic mountains are right in my backyard and sometimes, on weekdays,  I felt like I had them all to myself.  Well, the bucket list is complete which can mean only one thing:

It is time to start chemo.

So, today, after a trail run with Dizzy, a solid core workout, and a brief mountain bike ride over to Huntsman I started chemo.  The good news is that up until today I have been feeling awesome.  110%.  Ready to rip!

The bad news is that chemo changes everything.  Although it was a long day at Huntsman-almost six hours!-the day was for the most part uneventful. 

                                The new infusion room at Huntsman is very nice

                                          There is even a private TV with DVD player!


After almost a hour of being pre-medicated with IV anti nausea meds, we were ready to start the infusion.  Epirubicin and 5FU were pushed in while Cytoxan was a slow drip.  As you can see the Epirubicin is bright red in color and they weren't kidding when they said I would be peeing red!  

Can you tell from the photo that I am NOT super psyched to be going through this again! Now I feel like I need to be pinched that my life went from...well, just about this.  Dejavu for sure, but hopefully we will once again return to the life we want to live.  

Last night, when we returned home Shannon cooked up one of my favorite dishes-coconut curry with cauliflower, broccoli, onions, and spices served over kale and spinach. It was delicious, but probably not the best post-chemo choice.  I spent most of the night uncomfortable, tossing and turning, with an upset stomach.  I have been diligent with the anti-nausea meds and it seems to have resolved at the moment.  In the meantime, I think I will play it safe with some 7 grain sprouted toast. 

My plan today is to get out at least once for about an hour. I have some errands to run and it seems like the perfect day to ride my townie!  

Well, Treatment 1, Day 1 is underway. Here we go......

Friday, July 12, 2013

Nutrition: Taking it up a notch

Those who follow my blog know that I take my nutrition pretty seriously.  Those who know me on a personal level, see on a routine basis the choices I make to best support my health.  I believe in the power of food.  After all it is ingested just like medicine, but without all of the nasty side effects.  I will gladly change my diet in order to support my health and reduce the medications I may need to take today and in the future.  Really, to me, it seems like such a small sacrifice for health.

Even though I have read numerous books, researched online endlessly, participated in seminars, and become quite knowledgable regarding the anti-cancer diet, I am NOT a nutritionist and certainly NOT an expert!  Just like I have hired a cycling coach to optimize race performance, I decided it was time to bring in a nutritional expert.  Not just any nutritionist would do.  I wanted an expert in oncological nutrition.  Through my research, I had heard of Jeanne Wallace and her Nutritional Solutions practice.  When two people suggested I look into her program over the course of a week, I decided it was time to investigate further.  What immediately attracted me to her program was her goal of working collaboratively with my medical treatment.  Unlike many "alternative" practitioners, she is not against traditional medical treatment, chemotherapy and radiation.  Her goal is to complement and maximize medical treatment while supporting a healthy environment within the body.  It seemed like a perfect fit.

So, in order to take a little pressure off myself in trying to become an oncological nutrition expert, let alone the immense amount of time and energy my research was consuming when I would rather be out riding my bike, I have started working with the Nutritional Solutions group.  So far, my expectations have been exceeded!  I have been provided a 100-page packet on Dietary, Nutritional & Botanical Support for Breast Cancer (of which I have proudly read in its entirety!), packets on Nutritional & Botanical support to complement chemotherapy and radiation, handouts on agents that interfere with, boost efficacy, and reduce side effects for each of my chemotherapy drugs (did you know that Shallots are contraindicated with Epirubicin???) and two telephone consults to come up with a customized nutritional plan to complement my medical treatment.  Thus far, I have been highly impressed with the team's professionalism, knowledge, thoroughness, and genuine concern for my well-being.  I am confident in their recommendations, as they use research to guide their practice, and phew, it takes a lot of pressure off me!

Their plan focuses on six areas: reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, apoptosis & differentiation, anti-angiogenesis, impeding metastasis, and hormone modulation.  Perhaps someday I will write in more detail about our nutritional approach, but in the meantime,  since I have a little bit of extra time thanks to the super smart folks at Nutritional Solutions, I think I will go ride my bike!

I have just about completed my summer bucket list of high mountain rides

These old mines scatter the Park City mountains

Another day, another beautiful view.  
Seriously, I need to pinch myself.  I can't believe I live here and ride these mountains everyday!