What Would Super Girl Do?

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Oh. I just realised that with school holidays ending I have to start getting my shiz together to join the gym like I promised I would at the start of the summer holidays. Part of me is excited at the thought; I used to enjoy going to the gym. And part of me is like… pooh! I don’t wanna! Can’t I just be a lump on the couch?

But chatting with my friend Joanne has made me realise that chemotherapy wasn’t really that long ago; it was a scant few months back when I was crippled with side effects and fighting for my life. That as good as I feel now, there are still limitations as to what I can put my body through and I need to remember to ease into the whole gym experience; not go rushing in with no regard to what I have been through these last couple of years.

And I really don’t want to write this next sentence, but the truth is I have to remember that the cancer is still inside me; it’s asleep but it’s there. Not that going to the gym is going to wake it up or anything, but the reality is I am still a person with cancer. I need to remember that I am not all powerful and capable like I want to believe I am. I have to avoid the “I have survived chemotherapy, I can do anything!” mentality.  I cannot leap tall buildings in a single bound, I do not have superhuman strength, vision or speed and I do not have a stylised “S” tattooed on my shirt. Thinking about it, my morning breath could be considered superhuman I suppose.

Part of me really wants to go back to GoodLife gym as they have women only gyms and I feel more comfortable there, but the GoodLife gym closest to me is a mixed gym. Going to the women’s only gym would require me to take a bus ride, and the local council gym that is only a five minute walk away from my house is mixed, although it undoubtedly is a much cheaper option. It all comes down to how comfortable I feel.

A phone call later and it turns out that the GoodLife gym membership is about $30 a fortnight; expensive and yet not. If I ended going the five or six days a week like I used to it would be around $3 a visit… that isn’t so bad really. Am I not worth that kind of investment? If I would be more faithful in going to the gym because I felt more comfortable, wouldn’t that be the right way to go?

It seems like a big decision right now.

Do I allow money or personal comfort rule my world?

What would Super Girl do?

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Fighting My Fears

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The weather has turned colder here, but the smell of autumn isn’t in the air, so I don’t have to hit the panic button just yet. I say colder, it’s like a cool summer day… I think that today we got to 21C which isn’t that low but feels low after the days of 40+C that we were going through not that long ago.

It’s hard to believe that we are going to be heading into the cold weather so soon. September is a great time weather wise here in Ottawa, but it goes by so fast and then suddenly we are into the frigid weather and the winter time blues hit. I missed most of last winter because I was so sick with chemotherapy, but I’m going to be healthier this year I trust.

Having said that, I do have to write down something that freaks me out and I need to remember it for the appointment at the end of next month rather than shoving it to the back of my mind and forgetting about it. And if I write it down here and tell you, chances are someone is going to remember and remind me of it before my appointment – right?

I was laid low today at lunch time with extreme lower belly pain – the same kind of pain I would get pre June operation.

Of course, with ovarian cancer being a chronic disease, I’m freaking out that something is going on down there and that the cancer is active again. I can’t help it; my brain has just flown there. It was the same kind of twisting pain that I used to feel. I’m trying to hide the panic I’m feeling from Bronwen; why the hell should she know or worry about anything when it might not be anything at all?

And it’s not going to be anything is it? It was just a rare fluke of pain… I just need to do #2 or fart or something. But I remember clear as day the Doctor asking me in the previous check-up if I had felt any abdominal pain. Shite shite shite.

Once the word cancer is spoken over you it’s hard to think or behave in the same way anymore. Everything is tinged with the alarm of it coming back. The word ‘chronic’ reverberates around my skull. And the truth of it is that life can’t ever go back to how it was, when there was freedom from anxiety.  I try to carry my faith into the face of fear, but most of the time I have to admit defeat. It’s the unspoken conversation. It’s the unseen truth. It’s there no matter how much I pray.

And I feel guilty at being so afraid, as if I am letting people down for having fears in the first place.  I get secretly angry when people tell me to give it to God and not worry. I want to yell at them that giving it to God isn’t as easy as they say. I want them to stop judging me for failing because I’m scared. It’s hard not to worry when you don’t have the ability to see what’s happening inside your own body. I didn’t even suspect I had cancer; it never crossed my mind until the Doctors spoke of it. Why would you think of cancer?

Now it’s all I can think of.

The Familiarity of the Day

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Its 5:54 am and I’ve been awake since before 3am. I really should be asleep. I hate nights like this one. I was so tired at 10pm when I crawled into bed I fell instantly asleep.

I woke up because the dogs wanted out and then boom… for neither love nor money could I get back to sleep. Ugh. Tossing and turning for hours. I even did my skin care routine at 4am because I had been so tired at 10pm I could barely get my teeth cleaned before I crashed.

And being tired means that later today I am going to be feeling like I’m hung over (tired, silly and incapable of making a smart decision) without any of the so called fun of getting physically drunk. Not that getting drunk is my thing. I think I’ve been drunk once, maybe twice in my life which isn’t a bad record at my age when you think about it.But truthfully, at this time of the morning, who wants to think about anything really?

My two boys have dug the blankets up on the chair so that it resembles a giant nest and are currently trying to get settled so they can sleep whilst still being in the same room as me. Never mind. I’ll fold the blankets up again later. I have nothing better to do with my time. Silly little munchkins.

The sun is up now… when I started writing these pages the world was still dark and the street lights glared and I had to have the lights on in the kitchen.

It’s so strange how the world keeps turning, even when you think everything has stopped and nothing is happening. I haven’t been able to sleep, so surely the rest of the world has hit the pause button with me and is still in a haze of being not quite right.

And yet it’s a comfort that the world goes on too. That things will still happen even if I’m not. That life goes on.

Although there were times when I first got diagnosed where I didn’t think the world had a right to keep on going forward. When I felt like I was stuck in a time loop where I kept hearing the doctor say ‘We found cancer” and yet people around me keep living their lives like nothing was going on.

The sun rose and the sun set and somehow I found my way through that time and now I can watch the dark of the night slip into the brilliance of the day and rejoice in the familiarity of it all.

Hair Saga’s

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So another update on the ongoing saga that is my hair.

My hair is now long enough that I can grab a handful in my hands and pull my skin around if that makes sense… how weirdly cool is that? It means it’s really growing back, because I had so many nightmares when I was going through chemotherapy that it wouldn’t grow back.

I am worried that the curls aren’t going to come back; I actually miss them after years of saying I hated them. Now my hair doesn’t seem to want to curl at all, it just stands up on end as if I’ve been electrocuted. And I have to say that right now I hate the way the hair on the sides of my head fluffs out. It isn’t long enough yet to tuck behind my ears but it fluffs out like duck feathers when they are ruffled; very annoying. I do have to laugh though; all those years in the 80’s when I was desperate to have a ‘flick’ style haircut like all the other girls and I couldn’t because my hair was too curly and now I have the perfect flick happening and its driving me nuts. Poetic justice I believe that’s called. I wonder if I used curling product in my hair if it would bring the curliness back. Can’t hurt to try I guess.

This is the stuff you immediately think about when you are told you’re going to need chemotherapy, but the living reality of it is even worse than you imagine. I was terribly vain about my hair. I loved how thick, glossy and soft it was and I took good care of it; no spilt ends for me. When the Doctor told me that I was going to have chemotherapy I sobbed like a heartbroken child who has lost their favourite toy because I didn’t want to lose my hair. And I apologised for crying, because it felt so silly to cry over something so unimportant in the big scheme of things. Here I was being told I needed lifesaving treatment and I was upset because I was going to lose my hair? But hair is such an important part of being a woman in our society, although it’s clear from the number of hair restoration places and products that men feel pretty much the same way about their hair too. It took less than a week for my hair to fall out completely. It was traumatic to say the least and the trauma continues now as the hair grows back inch by slow inch in the months after the chemotherapy.

But I have come to a decision that I’m going to get it cut into a style in the next month or so. I think having it shaped nicely will help me feel less like I’ve just survived chemotherapy and more like I’m in control of something, even if it is only my hair.

Rings on my Fingers and Silicone Arguments….?

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I’m experimenting with wearing rings on different fingers. Where once upon a time I couldn’t stand wearing rings on anything but my ring finger and occasionally my tallest finger, now I’m wearing rings on my little finger and on my pointer finger. It’s a real departure from what I have done all my life – but I like it. Isn’t that a silly comment to put in my blog?

But back to makeup issues… you might know the answer to this one and I’d be really pleased to get your notes on the issue, but I’ve noticed lately that the skin under my eyes is starting to get tiny wrinkles in which the translucent powder tends to get caught in. UGH. Old age is finally creeping up on me damn it. OK, so admittedly I don’t notice the lines except when I’m two inches away from the mirror and staring intently, but I know the buggers are there now and I hate it.

Now I’m pretty sure the answer is I need to use a facial primer (something I’ve not used before,) but there is the whole silicone / non silicone arguments which I’ve heard about, but never actually heard for myself.

Do you have any idea why some makeup artists say not to use silicone based primers and why others sing their praises? Is it just a preference thing or is there some deep reason one is better than the other? Is there a medical reason some makeup artists say stay away from silicone? And let’s be honest, how easy is it to stay away from silicone when it’s in so many products (like hair conditioner for one) that we use on an everyday occurrence anyway?

I don’t want to add anything to my system that could be bad for it after my cancer battle, but at the same time, I don’t want to get wigged out over a storm in a tea cup.

Maybe I can parlay this into a little visit to a makeup store soon to ask the cosmeticians ….?

Facial Freak Out

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Been watching way too many You Tube make up peeps and artists and seriously, I’m not sure how I ever left the house without a full coverage, full face of war paint on.

Just kidding. I’m really not that shallow.

Not. Really.

I go out of the house all the time without makeup on, I just have to question why now. I’ve been taking a lot of photos (to learn the planes of my face – of which I don’t have any!) and I can see what I do and don’t need to put on. It would appear that I really need to adopt the full coverage of everything kind of makeup style.

I have no bags under my eyes, but I do have huge circles, and I can’t work out if they blue or purple based, they just show on my face as shadows. I appear to have yellow toned skin, and all this time I thought I had pinkish hues because I’ve got red undertones in my hair. I can’t figure out if you are supposed to put concealer on underneath or on top of foundation, it really depends on the makeup artist you watch. My nose is too broad meaning I should learn facial contouring, my freckles too plentiful, I still can’t get my eyeliner to flick evenly and as for fake lashes… girlfriend those things scare the hell out of me!

I just can’t figure out how I got to this stage in my life and feel like I still know nothing about makeup. Skin care I’m more confident of, but this whole making up the face lark…. Wow. I am so out of my depth.

I think I need to stop flittering from one artist to another (getting more and more bamboozled) and stick with one or two and learn the tricks of the trade from them. And it would probably help if I sat down with my make up more often and played with it on my face instead of just admiring the pretty packaging. Yup. That would probably make a difference.

More importantly I need to remember that I am fearfully and wonderfully made just as I am. That would help when I have a facial freak out.

Review of Mild Papaya Peeling Scrub from The Face Shop

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I used for the first time the mild papaya peeling scrub from The Face Shop yesterday. This company is from Korea and has a global reach with stores in 29 countries around the world. I believe it came to Canada just on a year ago and took over the Fruits and Passion location in the Rideau Centre.

It comes in 150ml / 5.07 fl. oz. pump pack and I call it a scrub even though on the packaging it isn’t described as such. It’s a simple white container with a black pump system and a picture of a papaya on the label. The lotion is creamy white in colour and the smell was mild and pleasant, if maybe slightly soapy in a fruity way. The gel like consistency was easy to work with on the skin and becomes almost watery as you work it into your skin. This product wouldn’t be useful to take off cosmetics, but rather it to be used after cleansing the skin.

Initially I was somewhat hesitant to use the scrub on my face (I tried it on the back of my hand in the store) as I’ve had bad experiences before where the lotion is too harsh but I bought it primarily to work on the pores in my T zone as they tend to get dirty easily and need something with a bit of power to it. I did wonder if the lotion itself was what was producing the little gobules of gunk but repeating the scrub a few times resulted in less and less globules so I think that maybe this product really works as it claims.

It wasn’t hard on my sensitive facial skin as I feared it might be and it scrubbed off what can only be described as yucky white chunks from my skin without it feeling as if it were stripping my skin raw. After washing off the remaining gel with warm water my skin had no tell-tale tingling which is often the case when products are made to scrub the skin and I felt my skin was soft and not at all red or irritated.

The scrub was CAN$17 + tax and is a good budget range skin care product.