Archive | April, 2010

No news yet . . .

21 Apr

I still have not heard anything – I am waiting for scan results. Very scary, unnerving, unsettling and worrisome. Nothing I can do about it. I forget how taxing this is for everyone else. The grief my situation visits on my family is so great some times and I feel so badly about that, about the burdens I bring to my family.

Today was one of those days, I was wrapped up in my own fear so much that I failed to see how hard today was for my Mom. Seeing her cry is so hard, but, of course she needs to do that . . . she has to wait too. It makes me so sad for her, for my Dad, for my family. I pray as much for them that I will get good news as for myself.

Please continue to say prayers, I really need it and I greatly appreciate it.

Much love,

Lisa

Chopped Kale Salad . . .

18 Apr

Last year I changed my diet pretty radically. I tried to go organic (as much of the time as possible), eliminated sugar, most dairy, processed foods and all soy products (eliminating soy is harder than you think, soybean oil is in most everything these days). Every day I focus on three things: 1) avoiding processed foods, 2) getting enough protein (from low fat and non-chemical sources), and, 3) increasing the amount of fresh vegetables and fruits in my diet (I try to consume 7 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday, with a heavier emphasis on vegetables – although this is hard sometimes). I also try to consume as many dark green and colorful vegetables as possible.

Chopped Kale Salad

The darker green the better. And, if possible, I try to eat at least some vegetables daily that are raw (cooking can take out the good stuff, so I try to go raw when I can). Well, it can get a little boring sometimes, so I have come up with a few recipes over the past year.  Kale is a great vegetable. It is high in antioxidants, high in fiber and just good for you. However, raw, it tastes like a tough lettuce that is made out of broccoli. I have eaten it raw and cooked and also put it through a juicer. Other than adding it to soups, it was something that I ate in spite of how it tasted. Not any longer. If you do it right, it tastes good in a salad – or, a better way of putting it – is that you can’t tell it is in the salad 🙂

The key is to chopped up the kale into small pieces and add it to a sturdy lettuce (I prefer hearts of romaine). Keep the hearts of romaine chopped up in about one inch pieces (like you would do for a Caesar’s Salad). The two together (kale and hearts of romaine) are complimentary. Hearts of romaine tends to be a bit sweet so it helps to cut some of the bitterness of the kale. And, when you chop up the kale into really thin sections (1/8 of an inch or less thickness) then it really changes the flavor of the Kale. It is much more subtle and actually tastes a little bit like arugula. Again, the key is to chop it up pretty fine.

Ingredients:

Organic Hearts of Romaine Lettuce (1 1/2 heads to 2 heads)

Organic Kale (about 6 to 8 large leaves)

Organic Apple (1)

Organic Orange (1)

Organic Raisins (1 handful)

Organic Olive Oil (1/2 cup)

Organic Balsamic Vinegar (2 tablespoons)

Spicy Mustard (about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons)

Organic Garlic (to taste, I use organic garlic from a jar for this salad, it comes in olive oil and is chopped. As a result, it is tender and mixes well in the vinaigrette. If using fresh garlic, then I suggest you press it and use less than one clove, probably about a 1/2 clove or less)

Ground Pepper to taste

Directions: Wash kale and cut about 8 large leaves/stalks of the kale. Bunch up the kale and chop it up (holding it into a bunch helps the chopping to go faster). Chop kale into pieces that are 1/8 inch or less. Wash two heads of hearts of romaine lettuce. Chop hearts of romaine into one inch sections (as you would do if making a Caesar’s Salad). Core one apple and slice into thin pieces (do not remove skin). Keep the pieces of apple about 1/2 inch or less. Cut one orange into four wedges. Take each wedge and cut fruit away from the skin (this will leave a small amount of pulp close to the skin). Take each section and cut it into four or five pieces so that you have small cube like pieces of orange. Reserve the skins to use in vinaigrette.

To make vinaigrette: combine one 1/2 cup organic olive oil with mustard and garlic. Blend well. Squeeze the remaining pulp from the orange sections into the olive oil mixture. Add balsamic vinegar. Whisk.

Combine all above ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly so that salad is coated well with vinaigrette.

You can add additional raisins and fruit to the top of the salad (if you do so, reserve a little bit of the vinaigrette to mix your fruit into – this salad is best with the fruit and dressing combined well).

I often add chicken or salmon to this salad – mixing the chicken or salmon into the vinaigrette first before tossing it into the salad (it makes for a better flavor and consistency).

I’ll have a little oatmeal with my blueberries please . . .

18 Apr

Good morning,

Well, I decided to make some oatmeal this morning and thought that some blueberries would be a nice addition. It was really very good. Here is what oatmeal looks like when you add real blueberries. It makes eating those packaged instant oatmeals with “fruit” in it seem pretty gross now. This took only a few minutes to make and I highly recommend it. It is packed full of antioxidants and whole grain – both good very good for you.

Oatmeal and Organic, Wild Blueberries

Navigated Waters . . .

15 Apr

Today was spent mired in a medical maze. Not my favorite kind of day. But, I was successful – I was able to get all of the orders to the right place so that I could schedule scans for tomorrow. No small feat, I might add.

After getting a brief break from the medical maze, I went back to my old office building to see some friends (former office mates) for an annual gathering we have been doing for a few years now. I actually started the gathering – something for which I am called “the instigator” . . . not sure if I like that name 🙂

Anyway, some of the people I saw today I had not seen in about 8 or 9 months. They did not recognize me, that was kind of weird. I know I look different. I have lost a lot of weight, my hair is a different color and length, but, still, it was pretty weird. And, in general, it was just hard to go back there. I had an office in the building for a while. I had friends there. I spent a lot of time there and now I don’t spend any time there.

It is good that the rhythm of work and life keep moving, but it is also hard to see that I am not a part of that work rhythm anymore. Everything marches on. I guess it is just a bit shocking to see how much my life has changed over the course of a little over a year now.

It is what it is. I don’t know when I will be able to get back to things. Certainly days like today and tomorrow make that difficult. But, I will get there. I am just so tired right now. I don’t sleep but a couple of hours a night – this has been the trend for a month or more now. I know things will improve once I am able to get more sleep at night.

Well, enough whining for one day!

Please continue to keep me in your prayers, I greatly appreciate it.

Much love,

Lisa

The Maze . . .

15 Apr

Well, I am supposed to have CT scans done this week. But, the week is running out of days. I just keep getting the run around. My oncologist ordered the scans last week (head, chest, abdomen and pelvic scans) with the request that I have the scans this week. But, so far I have not been able to get the orders in front of the right person. I keep getting one fax number after another. I tell you, they make this so much more difficult than it needs to be. It is not like there is an issue with coverage – this has to be covered.

I always make the mistake of giving them a couple of days to get it right . . . this always eats up those couple of days and then I am always left pushing it through. But, it gets done. I guess I need to realize that there is no learning curve with them . . . because there is no actual learning going on. Ugh.

Meanwhile, I keep getting told to do a different dance each time. But, I do, and will do, what I have to do in order to get it all straightened out.

I hope to have things in order so that I can have the scans tomorrow. I am not sure if it is okay to have all of the scans in one day, but, that is what I am looking at now. I don’t like the idea of having all of that radiation in one day. But, I guess by now I am kind of glowing in the dark anyway 🙂

And, probably right now, the most important thing is to simply get the scans done and, of course – most important – please say lots of prayers that all of the scans come back fine.

Much love to you all,

Lisa

Monday Chores . . .

12 Apr

I have a lot to do today. Phone calls to square away authorizations for CT scans. You know what? I can’t even write about it. No point in it. I have a hard time even saying the word cancer anymore, let alone, typing it. I think about how I describe the diagnosis to people before I speak and do my best to always talk about it in the past tense. As if somehow I can linguistically make it go away, or, at least distance myself from it, paint a different picture for myself – the picture I want – that it is always in the past tense.

Now, I am faced with waiting to find out if those words ring true . . . past tense. Obviously, that is my hope, as it will always be, every time I schedule these tests, have these tests and wait for the results.

A very dear friend of mine told me that he lives in “chunks of time”, that is, time in between his scans. I can understand that now.

Please continue to keep me in your prayers, I greatly appreciate your prayers.

Love and peace,

Lisa

A Good, Healthy, Catholic Girl . . .

12 Apr

Yesterday I went to see a place to rent (I am looking for a new place – too much drama and not enough quiet where I live now. If you know of anything, let me know).

I had spoken with the property owner several times by phone. She is an interesting woman, an expatriate in Canada – she purchased a home there and moved there in order to take advantage of health care – which, by the way, is exceptional – she never waits, doesn’t have to go into an emergency room to get treatment on a Sunday for a broken bone – something to be said for managed costs. But, that is not what I meant to write about).

As we had already had a few conversations – politics, religion – not sure how we got into all of that – but, suffice to say that she is quite interesting and very well informed. So, at some point, I told her that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. (Since I have surgeries in front of me, and soon, I thought I should tell her).

She was shocked. She asked me how long ago and she immediately said, “Oh my gosh, you don’t even have a ten year recovery story to tell, this is recent!”

I told her I hoped to have that story to tell someday. Then she said, “Here I thought you were this good, healthy, Catholic girl when you walked in here. You look like you live at Mother’s Market!” (Mother’s Market is a health food store here). I didn’t even know what to say.

First of all, don’t get me started with the Catholic Church. Sorry, but, I have issues there . . this Pope needs to go. Would I go all Sinead O’Connor and burn a picture of him? Probably not. But, I was bald once . . .

And second (or, perhaps it is better for this one to be first), I AM healthy! Well, hopefully I am. I am certainly trying my best to be healthy.

Well, I thought it was kind of amusing, sort of . . .

Love and peace,

Lisa

Latest with the Rock Star . . .

9 Apr

Yesterday I saw my oncologist up at UCLA. She is pretty known for her work. There are some of her patients (myself included) who affectionately refer to her as “the rock star”. I didn’t start it, but, I keep it going.

She had a doctor from Canada shadowing her. He came into the exam room with her (asked me for permission to come in – which was fine with me). My doctor told him to take a seat and he said that he was fine standing. She insisted that he take a seat and explained that “if you stand, it makes patients feel like you are rushed and don’t have time for them” . . . Sit!”

I don’t think I have ever seen a female doctor tell a male doctor what to do.

The appointment went as I expected it. I will have another scan next week

I have been having a pretty persistent headache and naturally it worries me. I knew that if I told her I was having headaches that she would scan me earlier than planned. So, next week I will get another scan. Please say prayers on that.

UCLA’s oncology department is located in Santa Monica. So, I decided to make the most of the trip up there. It was a beautiful day. I walked for a few hours I would guess. My feet and legs are sore for it today, but, it was good for me. I am now very familiar with the section between Ocean Blvd to 9th Street and Montana Blvd. to Santa Monica Blvd.

I drove up about three hours before my appointment, walked around, had lunch. Then I stayed after my appointment for a couple of hours to miss traffic – more walking, dinner.

Pretty sore today though. Next time I need to rethink the shoes . . .

Please continue saying prayers for me, I greatly appreciate it.

Much love,

Lisa

Good news . . .

6 Apr

I just got the call from my doctor that the pathology report for a biopsy I had three weeks ago came back benign. So, great news. I didn’t mention the biopsy here, I don’t think. But, it is one of many tests I have had and will have and sometimes it is just too much to think about. I was most worried about the bone scan. That came back normal. So all is well at the moment. More tests ahead in the coming weeks and hopefully more good results.

Please continue to keep me in your prayers.

Much love,

Lisa

More Easter Photos . . .

6 Apr

My nephew, Garrett, too busy for a photo 🙂

Garrett and Auntie Lisa

Garrett and Auntie Lisa