July 9, 2013 § 5 Comments
So again it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Exciting things have been going on for me, the hubs baby to be & Chaz! Other than growing this baby 🙂 work has been very busy. We’ve also been preparing for a big move! In August our little family will make the move to Rochester, NY. We are moving for hubs to begin his MBA program at the University of Rochester! It’s also a great move for us because my sister lives there and my parents and Nana are not too far away. Not to mention some of my closest friends live in the Rochester & Syracuse areas. We are very excited about this move, especially with this little pea in the pod coming fast. We are sad though to leave our home in Arlington, VA and leave behind our family here. Carlton’s parents, brother & sister-in-law, my uncle and his family and my aunt and her family. Here we also have a phenomenal group of friends who have certainly become family.We have been so blessed to spend so much time with these folks over the last 3 years (since we moved back to DC from Boston). We are a little bit transient, but we like to keep things interesting :). This time of transition is truly bittersweet. While we are thrilled to have Carlton making this very big move back to school, and welcome this baby into the world in Rochester we will miss our life here.
I typically don’t do well with transition, I mean who does? I’m trying to combat that past history by really being thoughtful about finding a community in Rochester. I am coming up on my 1 year anniversary of being a Crossfitter. Finding Crossfit has changed my life so much and I will miss my box here in DC. Even though I will be close to 30 weeks pregnant when we move, I’m hoping to find a box that embraces me & my pregnant self. That way it will be easier to transition back into the community when baby makes it’s debut. I’m also excited about joining some “new mommy” groups, hopefully meet some new friends to take walks, have coffee with while I’m on maternity leave. I’d also love to find a church when we land.. I’ve found a great church here in Arlington and I’d love to find something similar in Rochester. Hopefully Carlton & I can find things to do together as well since we are so used to having “couple” friends. I know that will come with time. Overall- very excited and looking forward to this change. I just keep telling myself to “embrace, embrace, embrace” this time of transition.
Baby & I are doing well. Plugging along at 23 weeks! The time is really flying by. We’ve chosen our doula, ordered our baby furniture and are rocking and rolling right along. Posts to come on all these things 🙂
Hope you all are enjoying your summer! Have a margarita or a glass of sangria for me 😉
May 18, 2013 § 3 Comments
Yes I am continuing Crossfit while pregnant! (Please hold judgements here) I have been crossfitting for almost a year and it has completely changed my body & my life. When we got pregnant it was a decision that Carlton & I came to with our midwife’s opinion heavily weighing in. So far so good, for the first trimester I was about to maintain 3x a week wods. Since the 2nd trimester started I have scaled back to 2x a week and I am quite picky about which wod’s I do. (I know this isn’t recommended– you should follow the programming!) but because some WOD’s are just too intense or would require me to completely scale I opt to just take Chaz for a walk that day. 🙂 I have been walking every day that I don’t get to the box..so staying active has been going well.
My goal has always been to stay with Crossfit as long as I can through this pregnancy. I hope that means right up until delivery..but I am taking it one week at a time. The hardest thing for me has been the competitiveness in the gym. I go in with the attitude of not pushing it to far..but then I get in there and it’s very hard to scale back. There are many different trains of thought and what you should and shouldn’t do. Some people where a heart rate monitor, others chose to do the talk test.. etc. I’ve just found that trusting myself is enough. I know there is a fine line and it is a difficult dance.. since I am starting to show now and running is getting more uncomfortable as are burpees and a bunch of other exercises it is making it easier to really just do what I can. One of the best things about crossfit is that it is completely scalable– that’s why I encourage everyone to do it. That’s what makes it work during pregnancy. My coaches all know I’m pregnant and have been SO SO supportive. There are tons of great resources as well..if you have questions check out my favorite site..
May 11, 2013 § 3 Comments
A lot of people have asked us if this pregnancy was planned or unplanned. It was most definitely planned! We knew we were ready to start a family we just weren’t sure how that family was going to come together. See, when I found out I had cancer at 21 the first thing I asked my oncologist was how I could preserve my fertility. At that time in 2006 there were ZERO fertility guidelines for oncologists dealing with women in child-bearing years. Docs had always offered to bank sperm for men but for some reason at that time a conversation about women’s options was not common place. My oncologist was stunned that I had asked and tried to re-direct me reminding me I’d be loosing my hair. I can so vividly remember thinking to myself..”DUH, I’ve seen a St. Jude Commercial”. I again asked what my options were, emphasizing that I wanted to have my own children if that was at all possible. He offered to make a couple of calls and get back to me.
Pretty quickly we were referred to the amazing Dr. Kiltz at CNY fertility center in Syracuse, NY. (Where I was receiving treatment while living with my parents) From the second I walked into his office I knew everything was going to be ok. Dr. Kiltz explained my options to me and my then boyfriend of 6 months (who now is my amazing husband). He recommended I could freeze eggs or embryo’s. His preference was embryo’s because at that time the statistics for successful embryo implementation were drastically higher than eggs frozen, then fertilized and implanted. At the time we weren’t sure where the relationship was going and embryo’s seemed a bit too high on the commitment totem pole. I opted to harvest my eggs and have them frozen. I also opted to have monthly depo-lupron shots that essentially put me into a medically induced menopause (lots of fun for everyone in my life). The theory being, if we turn your ovaries off there is less of a chance the chem0-therapy will destroy them. I won’t go into the details about the harvesting process, but it wasn’t easy. I feel for any woman who goes through IVF or fertility preservation. I’ll leave it at that. I ended up with 6 frozen eggs after all was said and done.
I also want to just say that Dr. Kiltz did everything for me at a hugely reduced rate. In 2006 insurance companies wouldn’t cover fertility preservation for female cancer patients. They would cover anything you did after chemo and trying to get pregnant. Doesn’t make much sense does it? Thanks to organizations like Fertile Hope and Liverstrong for making a huge impact in this area.
For the last 7 years the weight of not knowing if I could conceive and carry a child has weighed on me. I saw numerous specialists. Every one had a different perspective on my fertility. One doctor in Boston told us to start trying then because nothing was for sure. Another doc told me I may go into menopause at anytime as a side effect of the depo-lupron, one doc told me I “may” be normal but also may not be able to ovulate and conceive. That was reassuring, thanks a lot for that! So in the spring of 2010 I decided to just turn it over to God. Put my faith in Him.
Fast forward to this year, Carlton and I decided that we were ready to start trying. We had no idea what the outcome would be. Well our wildest dreams came true..we were blessed to conceive without any medical intervention. We recognize this as a HUGE blessing. I know MANY people who have struggled with conceiving, cancer survivors and many other healthy people. We want to be sensitive to the many people who struggle to get pregnant, I spent 7 years thinking that would be my story. Now our prayers have shifted to a healthy and normal pregnancy and delivery for baby C. I hope this answers questions for people..and if you want more information about Dr. Kiltz or fertility issues for cancer survivors check out:
March 6, 2013 § Leave a comment
I am a crappy blogger. I’m sorry I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve taken the time to write. The last month has been fabulous…I celebrated my 28th birthday and we celebrated Carlton’s 29th just three days later. It was also our 8th Valentines Day together. The month of February was busy with work and all of these birthday/valentines celebrations! I unfortunately cursed myself by proclaiming to a colleague “I haven’t been sick all winter” and then LITERALLY the next day came down with a horrific cold. So I ended up being pretty sick on my birthday (didn’t change out of my pajama’s till 6pm to be exact!) but even with being sick it was a great birthday. I know 28 is going to be amazing. My “new” life that I’ve found this year with my new lifestyle have encouraged me so very much. I have such great energy and really feel happy.
In addittion to crossfit and my almost 100% paleo diet (I do quinoa sometimes;)) I started with acupuncture about 6 weeks ago. It has been AMAZING. From the first time I entered my practitioner Kathleen’s office I knew it was going to be life changing. She is wonderful and accepts insurance.. so I only have to pay a small co-pay and get 72 visits a year! Truly remarkable! Way to go bc/bs.. 🙂 She’s been working with my body to heal adrenal and digestive issues as well as focusing on my circulation. I have noticed significant changes and haven’t had any hives (other than a few on my forearm after eating out on my birthday) at all since I started seeing her. The relaxation benefits are awesome too. Spending 40 minutes alone with no iphone or radio has become a treasured time for me. I look forward to it as much as my workouts!
In celebrating this new year I am really focusing on listening the voice inside of me– this may sound hippie dippy..but deal with it folks! LOL.. I have become even more in-tune with my body than I was previously thanks to these changes I have made. My body tells me pretty quickly when it does or doesn’t like something. I can only hope that everyone I care about gets to a similar place with their body. The common theme of the many young adult cancer survivors I have met is that we feel disconnected from our bodies.. we were young..how could our bodies turn on us and allow cancer to manifest. Our bodies change..our minds change..how do you find who YOU are after you deal with a cancer diagnosis? I have found some peace and relief over the past 6 months or so with my body and really am starting to see the benefits to life when your mind and body work together instead of against one another.
I’ve missed blogging! Stick with me 🙂 I’m trying to write more frequently!
Also need to note I am progressing with my pullups and really plan to focus on them in the next month. Unassisted here I COME!
talk soon. xo
February 5, 2013 § 1 Comment
Hey Everybody. Today is world cancer day. It’s a day to create awareness around cancer and all of it’s effected parts. Survivors, caregivers, loved ones we’ve lost, policy, healthcare, prevention..the list goes on and on. Part of identifying with being a cancer survivor for me since my diagnosis in 2006 has been about raising awareness. 21 year old–seemingly healthy adults DO get cancer. Like me often diagnosed late in the game because of complacent healthcare professionals and an overall feeling of..”it can’t be serious..I’m young”. For me I was to the point of vomiting after every meal before I pushed a doctor to do more than just write me a prescription. I had to ask for a new surgeon because my original surgeon tried to convince me I didn’t have cancer. This was before I’d even had a biopsy. It’s a scary world out there and you need to advocate for your health– at any age. Get your physicals. More importantly KNOW your body.
Here I am 6 years later dealing with totally different health problems which can’t be officially classified as “cancer related” or “long-term side effects of chemo”. It’s the chicken or the egg. Same shit, different day. Or as my beloved mentor Kris Carr has always said..”a big ol’ shit pickle.” No matter what you are going through with your health I have found it is most important to listen to your body. I am still figuring this out myself.
In honor of world cancer day here’s a photo of me and Carlton on the night I decided I wasn’t covering my head up anymore.
We were in the Outer Banks celebrating the end of treatment and the moving on of life. It was meant to be an amazing trip of celebration..but in reality for me it was a scary time. I didn’t express it then but finishing treatment and moving back to DC was horrifying. I had been under doctors and my mom’s 😉 care for 8 months. I was supposed to move back to DC alone to finish school and not see any doctors? Transition was horrible for me. I made it through..for sure…but it was a very hard time.
As I’ve said before- I am truly blessed and lucky to be “cured” from my cancer. Many, many people lose there battles every day. I live my life the way I do fighting for friends I’ve lost.. Pam, RJ, Floyd & Gail.
In other news my first Whole 30 went awesome! I loved it and was very successful! I’m embarking on a psuedo whole 30..or rather just living Paleo moving forward. I lost about 8.5 pounds and gained a lot of physical and mental strength from the whole 30.
More to come soon! I don’t mean to abandon you all 🙂
January 19, 2013 § 4 Comments
Today is day 17 of my whole 30. I have to say..this hasn’t been too difficult. After dealing with the initial coffee and coconut hazlenut cream cravings I’ve been flying through the days feeling really good. So this post isn’t about a struggle with the challenge..the challenge has been great!
Struggle. I think this is a nice way to put what I am currently feeling. Food allergies have taken over my life..I’ve gone from a gluten allergy to gluten,dairy, msg, sulfites, celery and now it appears possibly nightshade vegetables and maybe eggs? It’s been a hivey week that has left me about to pull my hair out while trying to pin point what’s causing these outbreaks. I have seen an allergist in DC, my general practitioner and my oncologist here in DC and all recommended a diet free from these allergens. Honestly I don’t feel confident in any of their treatments for me..other than my ND. She is awesome and it’s my fault for not seeing her as much as I should. (This is because of $$..she’s not covered by insurance..boo!!) But given this lack of DR support/following everytime I get a bad reaction, which means to me hives on my head, face, neck and body..I have been having bad panic attacks.
I’m trying my best to keep my focus on just getting through each day and doing what I know is best for my body..eating paleo and crossfitting. But I need answers.. from all of the reading I’ve done by various eastern & western docs it seems to me I have leaky gut. My guess is that I was already prone to leaky gut based on a lifetime of digestive issues but that it was worsened by chemo and immunetherapy. I hope i’m right. If I am there is hope that my body can heal.
My oncologist was kind of enough to recommend an allergist in Manhattan at Mt. Sinai who specialized in “escalating food allergies” which appears to be what I’m facing. I decided a few weeks ago it was time to go see this person. If I don’t get the answers there I plan to go back to see Dr. Fasano (leading celiac & gluten & all things leaky gut). I saw him last spring when I was only dealing with gluten allergies..he quickly dismissed thoughts that it could be celiacs and told me it sounded like sensitivity.
Sorry for the details but it’s good to express through writing. So yes I am struggling. Trying to keep my head up and not feel defeated by food. It’s horrible to live in a world where food that’s supposed to sustain you instead hurts you. GRHHHH!!
One of my oldest and best friends shared with me this week that I inspire her. That despite everything I’ve been dealt that my determination always shines through. Thank you Val. I needed to be reminded of that this week.
Love to you all!