Thursday, March 17, 2022


 I'm trying to get back to taking care of myself better. This means catching p on all the things I haven't been able to do safely during covid. Like checkups. Like workouts. Like hilarious pupil dilations and eye exams. 

Like (shudder) dentists.


This morning I got my teeth cleaned for the first time in years. It was a bit unnerving, but I am glad I finally did. Wow. They feel awesome. I have individual shiny teeth again. No cavities too, so bonus on that. A lot of people have terrible teeth after chemotherapy and I was meticulous with my oral care during treatment to avoid mouth sores and the like and it seems to have made a difference. Of course now I don't take care of my teeth well at all post treatment anymore (ahem) that's kind of dumb of me. I figure that needs to change so I keep my teeth as long as I can.

My job has incredible benefits and in addition to decent dental coverage our other health benefits have been expanded recently to include a lot of neat new extra things, including electric toothbrushes and health supplements and hobby tools. So - I have a fancy electric toothbrush to try and use regularly now that my teefs are cleaned. I may look into getting some cool craft tools and such as well. We shall see. 

For now, I'll work on organizing my life and expanding some hobbies and treating myself better. I am feeling stronger and a bit thinner in my recent efforts to be a better steward of my body and after watching people close to me lose their health I've been vividly kicked in the, teeth, to be better.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Survivor guilt

 Lets unpack a steam train full of baggage shall we? If this triggers you or you don't want this I respect your boundaries to not take this into your head right now. This is mostly a post of writing out my feelings and I don't expect you to take this upon yourself. You might wanna go for a walk or pet a cat instead I figure.

OK here goes. 

Last month my father in law passed away from cancer. He's been sick for a long time - bladder cancer after decades of smoking and despite what seemed to be successful treatments and a not great surgery that took him a long time to heal from that removed his bowels and prostate and bladder he came home to then find it had spread to his bones. He and I were never very close - he was not a great father to my husband and could be a bit of a jerk - but I would not wish this on anyone. The last 5 months of his life he weakened and then started to live with constant pain...pain that was eventually so hard to bear that ne was not lucid with all the pain medication he was given. He was going to be moved into the hospital for hospice care soon after he peacefully left this earth surrounded by his family. It was a terrible way to die, and yet as peaceful and good as it could have been, surrounded by family and knowing he had looked after everything he could and was ready to go. He had a strong faith that sustained him, and seeing how despite his pain and frustration he deeply loved his wife and family really made me respect him a  great deal at the end. Life is wierd that way. 

His illness and death had a huge impact on me. He and I had bonded a bit when he was sick -we were the "cancer buddies" and I was willing to talk to him about stuff that no one else would and I encouraged him with my recovery that he would beat this too. For a time we thought he had. We both felt the fear - each new random ache and pain means maybe the cancer is back. Every cough or weakness could be a sign of a new problem. I've been so lucky that for me it has never been anything to worry about (knock on wood). For him though? The worst fears of a survivor made real. 

Trying to squash the fear of reoccurance is hard for a survivor. Indescribable. You can't really talk about it because you can't stop it and you can't fix it and after a while people get sick of hearing about it. You are expected to "get over it" and get back to life. You try. Some days you even forget. My tattoos over my scars have helped me see beauty is what used to be a vivid reminder of my sickness and take control of the "new me". Him getting sick just brought all this back for me again. Watching what could have been. Seeing the pain and frustration. The anger. The pleading. Watching those he loved suffer. 

And then? THE GUILT. How dare I make this about me? How selfish of me to take his suffering and try to turn it into something else? Having lost a parent I tried to forget the pain of watching my mother fade away and support my in laws however I could, but sometimes I would just find my self crying over new aches and sitting blankly staring while petting a cat. And more guilt then...because during this I am supposed to be supporting my partner. He suffers from depression and needed my help to try and get through all this after years of covid decimating his work. So much MUCHness. Everywhere. I am usually annoyingly happy. This does not compute. 

Survivor guilt is real. I know I'm not here to change the world, but I suppose I'm still here to bring a little splash of me to whoever needs it. And to fill up their cup I need to fill up mine as well. Not entirely sure how to do that, but I suppose the first step is admitting the guilt I feel. Where I go with it remains to be seen. 

The spring time of the mind

 I always thought is was kinda dumb to take a picture or measurements when starting a fitness journey. To me it just made me feel worse having actual numbers staring at me to prove how I'd really let things get out of hand. 

Before I got cancer almost 10 years ago I was in grad school while working full time (not recommended if you want to sleep) and I took what little free time I had to discipline myself to eat clean and workout. I was, ironically, in the best shape of my life while a few small tumors were building a nest in my right breast. I was grateful for that health when I had to go through about a year of chemo, surgeries and radiation and all kinds of things that made me realize it wasn't the beauty I craved so much as the self control. The strength. I'm a clumsy human and the more muscles I have the stronger and more precise I can be. You gain a new perspective when you ache and feel like a 90 year old and after having come back from that I tend to look at things differently now.

Yes. I still do over indulge. Yes I still have a somewhat unhealthy relationship with food (repeat after me - food is not a reward). I love food and good scotch. I oscillate in my attention to health - but I also have limits. I had a great holiday season and enjoyed myself thoroughly, but occasional rewards had become the norm again and having 2 drinks after work each night to destress was not helping my mind or my ass. Instead of workouts in the AM I would sit with my cats and surf facebook and numb my brain. With winter chills it was too cold to walk so that was missing too. I was becoming a working lesson in how not to cope with pandemic burnout. I've been lucky enough to work all through this in a research lab safely and the stress of all that made me want normality so badly...and it was impossible. 

 My dear friend and my godson recently got covid and I could not help them while they recovered and it shook me to look at what was important. While slowly doing little things to organize my life I attacked my bedroom closet after a pile of sweaters landed on my head. I discovered a lot of clothes I love that I haven't worn because they don't fit any more. I slowly looked in other closets and organized and looked at things to see what mattered and tried to organize what little I could in a crazy time....and it helped. I started to see little glimpses of OK. Build parts of my home up from under 2 years of ADHD isolation clutter and feel accomplished. And so for the last few weeks I've been getting up again in the Am to do a workout and cutting back alcohol to one day on the weekend again. I started reading books and not social media. Big small things.

And it feels good. My largest clothes - my "danger" pants are now comfortable again and I feel stronger. Not a lot stronger, but just not dying or feeling like my muscles are going to collapse. I can hold yoga poses without falling over and do a few pushups. Do cardio without an asthma attack. eh- It's a start. :)It also helps that the stupid chill of our Saskatchewan winters is finally reaching it's end. I can walk to work again some days as long as I bundle up. That adds some morning chill to my day and gives me 40 minutes to myself. Time for podcasts and walks along the river to the lab. Time for me.

I guess what I'm trying to say is it may still be chilly out but it's springtime in my head at least. I hope you're finding little glimpses of springtime somewhere in your soul. Please look for them. They are ever so lovely when they sprout up and show their leafy green little sprogs. :)

Monday, March 07, 2022

Self preservation, Serotonin and 2022

Well hey.

It's been a few.

So - covid huh?


And anyone else had world war 3 on their 2022 bingo card? Yeah me either.

The old curse about "may your life be interesting" seems to be granting demented wishes for all of us.

I've been finding my ADHD is rabbit holing into Facebook and that combined with being constantly attacked as a scientist for just offering science and kindness to people about covid and just science in general I've tried to take a step back from that. A few weeks off Facebook and already I'm doing other things at home that give me serotonin and reading more again. FB was sucking all that I used to post here, plus the way it's set up just invites me to lurk and seek for some kind of random thing from other people and get me some serotonin...which I should really try to get from actual humans. 

So yeah. I think 'm gonna be back here for a while now. I need a place to comment and rant and such, and I do miss my blog. Life has much to talk about and despite the fuckwittery of the current world there has been much goodness in my life. I am still healthy. Still a scientist. I am a godparent. My cats and husband are adorable as ever. 

I recently started back to a bit more physical activity too after using food and booze to medicate my winter there is gonna be some fitness tracking and ranting about how hungry I am while I get back into my previous size of pants. Not gonna lie though, mostly I think it's more my brain needing to spew randomness out and hash out life and not just have experiences to be shared on social media. Instagram and Tiktok are amusing, but there's something to be said for Ye Olde Bloggosphere and sharing things with my partner. 

SO hey - feel free to swing back a few times a week for all the rants and random blarbles I have floating around in my bean. Same bat time. Same bat channel. 

PS -I cross-posted and linked here from over from my other fitness blog -the thought of posting in 2 places hurts my head.   

Cunning Plans

 Life is wierd ya know. It seems a lot of things have been hitting me hard lately. Been distant from people, including my partner who is dea...