Despite my promise that I would not forego weekly therapeutic massages due to either cost considerations or time issues, I ended up missing my session last week. Perhaps due to the harder workouts, extra work around the house or picking up the LG the wrong way one time too many, I ended up with quite a bit of lower back pain and realized I needed a session at the Teal Center before things became worse.
It was one of those wonderful massages, a combination of manual lymph drainage, stretches and deep muscle work that had me drifting and dozing nearly the entire time. I chatted with Jean, the day's massage therapist and with another who had worked on me in the past while paying, and was glad to hear them say how far I had come. In fact, Jean said she was amazed by my range of motion and Lucille (who did my pre-surgical massage and several follow-ups) chimed in that she felt the same way. I mentioned how I didn't see how I could have gotten through this mess without therapy of some sort, and they noted that they wished more people understood the connection between the mind and body when dealing with this sort of scenario (hint: surgeons acknowledging the benefits would be a huge help!). It's not just being told to take medicine or have a surgical procedure, but working on healing your body in a way that relieves stress and lowers the risk of post-surgical side effects.
I thought about this as we were talking and we all wondered why more people don't take advantage of such offerings. Do they not know about them? Do they think the benefits are just hooey? Is it too expensive to contemplate with all of the other expenses involved? I know I had begun to think that and thus, we recently switched our insurance from BCBS to the FSBP, which covers 30 massages a year at $40/session. While we were not entirely unhappy with BCBS, that's a savings of $1200 that we can't afford not to take. Combine the insurance coverage with the Teal Center's oncology discount and I will be paying approximately $25 for a one hour session for 40 weeks of the year.
While trying to get through these past few months, there is one thing that I have avoided and too much time on sites that focus specifically on my type of cancer. Yes, I have researched the topic and found the information useful, but I loathe pigeonholing myself. I do not consider myself a member of any 'club' nor do I feel as though my life has to change extremely because of this scenario. I find when I focus on my type that I end up stressing myself out more. Therefore I have decided that those services and information sites that are most useful to me are those that focus on overall health and wellness.
In light of that, I am creating a new selective blogroll. The items included will be those that have helped me through these past few months, have helped me in my healing or could be useful to someone else going through a similar experience, as with the links to Camp Kesem and Lotsa Helping Hands (and many thanks to Jill, again, for all of her work with my LHH group!). I am not taking credit for finding everything myself, as many were sent to me, or introduced to me by friends, to include Daily Mile.
What does that have to do with my situation? When I started on the road to recovery, I wanted a way to track my workouts. While I had a decent iPod app, I wanted a more interactive, user-friendly method of uploading my stats from any location. I noticed that a friend utilized Daily Mile and each day had her daily workouts, from yoga to running pop-up. The site would allow me to sync my Garmin Forerunner (easy upload of walk/run stats) and I was sold. No more being limited to the iMac or iPhone for updating purposes and so easy to see exactly where I am with my workouts.
Even better, they offer a widget for blogs. My workouts (or not, as was the case on Friday) are displayed in one of three layouts and a good reminder of my daily status. My friend, Heather, an avid runner, recently posted on this very topic. Whether you blog or not, those of you who are inspired to get moving (or those who are, but not tracking it) should consider utilizing the widget and/or simply post your updates on Daily Mile. There is nothing more motivating than watching your friends daily stats (or yours) pop up and knowing that each workout is a step towards a happier, healthier you.
The two remaining links on the currently (very short & sweet) blog roll are more related to my original diagnosis. Being Cancer, is a compilation of blogs and websites written by those who have been there, done that. While it may be sorted by type, it excludes nothing and can be an excellent resource, as can Crazy, Sexy Cancer.
Not long after I was diagnosed, I was stressing (okay, still am) over treatment issues. I wrote to a friend in California that I had met through my Holistic Moms group. She recommended a website started by Kris Carr, who had to deal with a different, but very scary type of cancer and is thriving today primarily due to lifestyle changes. I'm not going to go through her whole history (it's on her site), but suffice it to say, Kris is an inspiration to anyone in remotely similar circumstances. While I am not yet the epitome of perfect eating, we have much improved our diets even over what we were doing in California. I was even lucky enough to meet her at a recent Borders book signing and have a photo snapped (not posted due to me being 4 days post-op and looking more like 4 hours post-op!).
We are not vegan, but have cut down even more on meat and cheese (to reduce my intake of estrogen) and, of course, watch the amounts. Even prior to learning about CSC, we had acquired a kick-butt blender and nary a day goes by without a wheatgrass smoothie (also includes strawberries, bananas, pineapple and sometimes steel cut oats for an extra oomph). The kids (okay, the younger two) were already huge smoothie fans, so they make for easy and healthy morning breakfast treats.
I don't have a set limit for this list, but would like to beef it up a bit. If you have a link that you think would be perfect, please feel free to comment and/or send it my way via email. Oh, and why the "blip"? Well, in the end, that is what this experience will be...nothing more than a blip on my radar of life. Not to diminish any good, but the bad parts are not something I wish to dwell on and hopefully, will continue to be few and far between.