Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like spring...

Spring in February
...well, at least here in Portland it is.  The grass is green, the sun is shining, the trees are blooming, and the birds are singing.


I came back from a visit in Seattle where my plans were put on hold for a while due to the snow event in town.  I got a lot of good visiting time in with my mom and a friend from out of town.  He brought along his son Ben and we made some really awesome Mentos & Coke rockets.  It was a fun time!  Then I got to go up to Crystal Mountain for two glorious days of skiing and more visiting old friends of mine from my years at the mountain back in the early 90's.  The first day was filled with little powder stashes off piste and softly falling snow.  The next day was gloriously sunny! The summit of Crystal is only 12 miles from the summit of Mt Rainier and the mountain was out in all her glory that day as I had lunch at the summit house restaurant with my friend Liz, her husband Lyle and two other friends I haven't seen in years.  Liz and Lyle graciously offered up their guest room for me the night before, made me dinner and breakfast AND even let me use her awesome jacuzzi tub after my day of skiing.  Thank you Liz and Lyle!!! I really needed some mountain air and your good company.

When I got back to Portland at the beginning of the week I have to admit I was a little apprehensive.  I didn't want to have that feeling when I walked through my door into the apartment.  You know, the one where you'd wished you didn't have to be home.  But to my pleasant surprise I was quite relieved and a little amazed to find that it actually felt good to be home.  That was a great victory for me! I wasn't repulsed and that was a good thing.  Another surprise I got was that there was a letter from the housing authority in my mailbox stating that I qualify for section 8 housing.  I just needed to return some paperwork and the process starts, complete with an "orientation" sometime soon that explains exactly what the hell section 8 housing is....apparently it is entirely different from "public assisted housing" which I am living in.  Both are through the state so it seems only efficient and entirely less confusing if the same organization that handles both would inform you of all of your options and place you on all of the housing lists and availabilities or at least make them not quite so murky to navigate.  Actually I looked into this many months ago and even spoke with a representative who told me that she "didn't know what to tell me because she didn't know what I wanted from her" and that "I would be waiting for a long LONG time before I even heard from them because (her exact words here people) It's the government and they have thousands of applications and it takes forever, years sometimes infact".  She was incredibly rude and left me with the excuse of why she wasn't going to help me because it is the governments fault.  She is the government worker, isn't it her fault? Her fault that people cannot get any useful information what so ever about the differences and procedures for each different type of housing assistance?  One of my pet peeves is when someone doesn't want to do their job and you have to do it for them, OR when they don't do their jobs and you end up with cancer (that ones for you Swedish, Group Health  Death, and 45th Street Clinicl, thanks for NOT doing your jobs either, IBS MY ASS! more like liver cancer to me)...ahem....bitter a little? :) not really, just venting...

Beach Treasures!
Tomorrow the world will be watching the Super Bowl, glued in front of their televisions and eating bad food.  Me?  I hate football.  It's just too much testosterone for me, just guys trying to be cool and beat the living crap out of each other.  I could just never get into it.  I'm more of a baseball gal.
I thought I would take advantage of this opportunity to get out of town and head out to the Oregon coast toward Manzanita.  I just love that place.  Nice and quiet compared to all of the other touristy towns nearby like Cannon Beach or Lincoln City.  My girlfriend and I are going together with her pup Dusty.  It is an agate hunting and driftwood gathering day and it is also supposed to be sunny.  BONUS! If we are lucky the wind might not be blowing as hard as it is here in town. I think I need to charge my camera.

Urea before mixing

I had a nutritional IV on Wednesday and got to see my naturopath.  He had my order for the new treatment I am starting, a giant whopping jug (2.5Kilos) of Urea.  It looks like coarse salt or sugar.  I take 25 grams every day in juice high in phytoflavinoids such as berry or pomegranate juices. I have been using blueberry and/or pomegranate and I mix half water with half juice because the juice is just too tart for me straight, plus it makes the juice last longer as most berry juices are pretty expensive and the organic ones are usually around $1-$2 more.  It really doesn't have a taste thankfully.  If it does the tartness of the juice disguises it really well.  Here is more about Urea if you missed my last post about it's cancer fighting properties. 

Mixed w/blueberry juice and filtered water
As far as what is up with me, well its been getting better.  Let me sum it up:

1. I wasn't disgusted to be home. It actually felt good. Hey! Im running with it :)

2. I am going to be volunteering at the Audubon Society in Portland soon.  I am very excited about this!  I am thinking that it will help me get my feet wet again in the "real world" and give me some idea if I will be able to handle working on a part/full time basis anytime soon.  PLUS I get to hang out with the birds! And who knows, it just might open some doors to a career or at the very least I will get to meet some new awesome people.

3. Mentally I am feeling a little more clear headed all the time and that is good.  I can't really tell a difference from the day before but I can certainly tell a difference from a month ago.  I ordered a book called "Totally Tangled" to help me out a bit.  It is like yoga for the brain I have heard.  I am very excited to get it in the mail. Powell's books had a free shipping weekend and I had a credit from some of the books I sold to them so this was perfect!  It certainly looks like something that I am going to love!

Ear to ear perma-powder grins
4.  I got to go skiing at Mt Hood Meadows on Thursday.  It was ABSOLUTELY EPIC! Seriously, one of the best SKI days I have ever had! Boyfriend convinced me to go into the backcountry (well, for Meadows its more like sidecountry) The wind was just whipping over the ridge! It was like battling a hurricane to get some untracked powder but oh boy it was worth every painful moment!  I swear it seemed like about a 60 degree pitch, oh so steep and just one vast expanse of powder just begging for me to make the first arc through the soft snow.  My cheeks still hurt from smiling so much.  We did 3 top to bottom runs through the backcountry in under 2 hours, somewhere around 15,000 vertical feet.  It was one of those days where you are just dead dog tired but you just can't stop because you are just having too much fun.  The sun was shining all day long.  We came in for lunch and both inhaled it as if we hadn't eaten in days.  We usually relax for a bit before making our after lunch runs but this time we didn't.  It wasn't ever really spoken out loud, but we both read each other's minds and no sooner had we swallowed our last bites and washed them down with some water before we said, "bathroom break, meet you back here in a few" before we were off to take care of business, eager at the thought of stealing some more fresh tracks in a new spot on the mountain.  I am absolutely LOVING my new ski set up.  The skis are a few years old, I had them set up for telemark but the back injury put a damper on that activity.  They sat for an entire season unused mostly because I was too weak and tired to venture into the backcountry, but also because I was spending most all of my time on my downhill skis which were feeling a bit too small for me.
BD Joule skis with Dynafit AT bindings
Boyfriend bought me some new AT bindings for christmas (along with my season pass) and I just LOVE THEM! Especially in combo with my skis.  Now I can skin into the wilderness and ski some fresh powder stashes on my way back down with out having to be a tele-expert.  Freedom!

5. My dad is moving back soon! Which reminds me, I really need to give him a call.  He is buying my plane ticket back to TN and I am helping him pack and drive out.  It will be so much fun!!! We aren't bringing much from TN, just a truck with canopy so the drive will be cake.  We are also stopping along the way at things that interest us, perhaps we will do some rockhounding...what am I saying? OF COURSE WE WILL :)  I am going to be happy to have my father around closer.  Tennessee is a long way from the PNW.

I haven't taken a pharmaceutical (other than hormone replacement therapy while my body gets back into sync) in over a month.  It feels so good! My last chemo treatment was on Nov 30th and that also feels good.  I'm gaining weight (125# now, that's 10 pounds!) but in all honesty I can stop now.  I will have to get new clothes soon if I don't and I can't afford that nor do I want to.

The best juicer ever!
I am drinking green juice every day along with aloe vera, coconut water, my urea, eating mostly all vegetables with occasional piece of meat like chicken or fish, eliminating dairy and all sugars and eating healthy snacks such as home made kale chips, or raw nuts and dried cranberries.  Something I noticed a long time ago is that the more I eat meat, the more I crave sweets.  I read about the chemical reasons why this happens but I forgot it now.  There is a direct correlation though.


To be very honest once again it has been hard.  The hardest part was changing directions, from chemotherapy, fatigue, nausea, and all those other nasty side effects to a natural, holistic approach to treating my cancer.  It was scary and very uncertain.  I have a PET scan in March to see what's going on on a cellular level.  I am banking on the FACT that it is going to look awesome!
Neptune & I in Cabo
I have been day dreaming about employment.  I've been sneaking peeks at the positions open for the state parks, forest service and national parks.  Envisioning myself in a little cabin in the woods somewhere interacting with happy people out for the fresh air and scenery.  It is difficult to know where to go at this point.  Still feeling a lot like I am in limbo land, somewhere between healthy and sick, in the land of the forgotten, the land where people who have cancer and are tired of feeling like it is controlling their lives are trying to get back to something resembling normalcy again.  For the cancer patient/survivor there will never be a "normal" again.  Every day is unique and every day is a blessing.  It is just best for me to not try to think so much about the uncertain future and concentrate my energy on what is here and now, being mindful about what I ask for and thankful for what I receive.  Today is tomorrow, all we have is what is here, now, in this moment.


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