Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hot Stuff, Baby

Oh my goodness, I am just giggling over this one.  Both of my children (whom I completely adore, even if Maude makes you think I want to sell them) have decided that perhaps they also suffer from one of menopausal's most annoying symptoms: HOT FLASHES.

Case in point, I went in to check on my baby boy (I know he's 6 but he's still the baby, which I know, I know, will entitle him to a lot of therapy someday) and he'd shed his pajama top & socks.  I covered him all back up and tucked his blankie back around his little frigid shoulders and he woke up to tell me he "had a hot flash" and needed to strip down.

My lovely daughter (who is growing sooooo fast) also had a moment the other day where she refused to layer up.  She was in her basketball uniform (short sleeves) and shorts and I kept after her until she replied, with that ever-annoying foot-stomp-eye-roll-saying-it-with-a-heavy-sigh "I'm having a hot flash MOM!" (emphasize the Mom, like it's the LOUDEST WORD IN THE SENTENCE, SAID WITH COMPLETE DISGUST AND ANNOYANCE OVER MY IGNORANCE).  Can't argue with that.

It makes me giggle, and I am reluctant to tell them anything different, I find it CUTE that they want to be like me, hot flashes or not.  As I've been enjoying them (hot flashes) ever more frequently (in my mind I'm hoping PRAYING that this is the Cliff Notes version, and I'm that I'm getting to the climax of the story and for-the-love-of-God they will begin to taper off soon) I thought I might make a list of what they are like, for those of you who may never get the joy, and those of you who still have another ten years to wait:

1.  A Hot Flash is when you are driving to work with the windows rolled down (yes, all four) it's 37 degrees outside and raining, the AC is on and you've stripped off all but one layer (to be appropriate) and you don't give a flying freakshow because you're still hotter than hot.

2.  A Hot Flash is when you're typing on your computer (work or home, same diff) and you lift your wrists to find puddles of sweat under them.

3.  A Hot Flash is needing to keep a stick of deodorant in the car, your husband's car, your desk drawer, your kids' backpack and your purse because you never know when you're going to break through that prescription strength anti-persperant/deodorant barrier.  (yes, it can be done.  jussayin')

4.  A Hot Flash is waking up in the middle of the night because you "feel" like the universe is somehow out of balance, then 30 seconds later you're covered in a layer of sweat despite the fact that you've knowingly stripped down to your chonies and a tank top.  You open the bedroom window and realize your husband is shivering uncontrollably in his sleep and you can't find a cool spot on the bed.  Thirty seconds later you freeze, put all your clothes back on, close the window and snuggle up with the covers over your head, only to repeat in another 2 hours.

5.  A Hot Flash is helping a student in your job, trying to explain the ins and outs of the FASA form, why it's important and where to go for additional help, meanwhile you're fanning yourself with the FAFSA practice form as your student keeps reaching for it, you're totally red in the face and you realize that the student may misinterpret your flushed face and reluctance to hand over the papers for something completely different.  You imagine a call from HR soon.

6.  A Hot Flash is like walking out of an air-conditioned building in Phoenix in August when it's 120 degrees, and not immediately being able to go back inside.  You sweat in places you didn't know you could.  Then suddenly you feel like you've walked into a freezer.  Boom.

I've got a few more, I think, but I'll save them up for later.  I'd be curious what other hot flash descriptions are out there.  Feel free to post a comment, just know that I've still got my "filter" on and I have to "approve" of your comments before they are posted.  So much for instant gratification.  But I guess that's what cleaning's for.

Signing off,


Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Devil You Know

The past few weeks have been filled with a back and forth debate in my head between logic and common sense.  No makin' fun of me and saying a woman with common sense & logic is like a $3 dollar bill (I've heard it before!).

While I do have common sense, in all honesty Maude and I choose to exercise it when convenient.  So there.   Logic?  Totally different story.  Never been my strong suit, and when you factor in that I'm a woman (who used to have a period) now in menopause, well let's just be honest: logic is out the freaking window 99% of the time.  And I'm at peace with that.

What I have been debating, researching, talking about and wrestling with is whether or not I REALLY want to take an additional hormone suppressing medication.  I pull a hair out of my chin almost daily now, I'm not in the business of wanting to shave my whole damn face.

I discovered after my surgery (because as previously mentioned I don't often use common sense) that having my ovaries removed at age 40 causes all kinds of other issues, aside from just the daily joy of menopause.  It's loads of fun for the whole family!

Aside from reducing my risk of breast and ovarian cancer (eliminating that baby entirely) and uterine cancer ('cause I had that worthless POS yanked out too) I'm now signed up for increased risk of bone loss, heart disease, glaucoma (although a legal excuse for me to finally try marijuana…..not that I would….well maybe in a brownie) and joint pain.

Do you know what happens if I take another hormone suppressing drug?  Magnify my risks above by 10.  No thank you.  Had I known the risks of the complete hysterectomy, I'm pretty sure I would have done the exact same thing.  No doubt about it. 

But now we're splitting some very gray hairs here…..I  have a 10% chance of breast cancer coming back.  With hormone suppression therapy it drops to 5%.  FIVE PERCENT.  If it would 100% guarantee me a get out of jail free card, I'd take it.  And be glad.  And put up with all the crappy short and long term side effects.

But it doesn't, and it won't and to be honest Id rather roll the dice, put all my chips on black and hope to hell I win.  The short and long term side effects in my logical, common sense opinion, do not outweigh the benefits.  I'd rather risk it with the Devil I Know.

That devil was a slow growing hormone receptive cancer, one whose ass I started kicking the day I decided to live a healthier life, months before I ever even found it.  A life that, to this day, I continue to lead.  Regardless of how many other medications I'm told to take, my life will still be filled with annual screenings of my breast tissue to see if that little devil has come back.  Pill or no pill, I'll be checked.

Believe me when I say this (unless genetics reveals something entirely different) I hold the firm believe that farting around with my hormones for almost 20 years with varying methods of birth control, combined with the fact that I had a fairly sedentary lifestyle (and 50 extra pounds of fat all over my body) and then just top that off with the heaping pile of processed soy products I ingested for five months and you've got the recipe that I know is what caused those nasty old cells in my old boobies turned into cancer.  You'll never convince me otherwise.

I, Amy Maude Little, have a 90% chance of cancer not coming back, I'm a million times healthier than I ever was before, have done everything I can aside from taking another pill to mess around with my hormones, do not see the benefit of 5% reduction in risk so I can end up with such severe joint pain, glaucoma, bone density loss or heart disease that I can't run or exercise or be healthy the way I have learned to be.

No, I'm not taking another medication destined to cause more health issues for me.  I'm done, ready to move on, but continuing the fight in my own way, on my own terms.  

The way I see it, I've got the same chance of getting it now that I had before when I got it the first time.  And I'm physically not the same but in a very good way, and in my heart of hearts I know that IF I were to get breast cancer again I'll kick it's ass all over again.  And I'm not afraid.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Runner's Code of Honor

Recently Maude has been on a big ass tirade over stupid runners not wearing anything bright, light, or reflective while running in the dark.  Seriously, do they have a death wish?

Do they WANT to get hit so they can sue someone?  I don't know, but Maude has taken to rolling her window down (much to the embarrassment of the kids who are in the car 50% of the time) and yelling at these Darwin-Award winners to Put Some Freaking Reflective Shit ON!

I have people remind me all the time it's a survival of the fittest but I sure as hell don't want to be the one making that prophecy come true.  I've already had one near miss (another blog for another time).

I sure don't need the guilt, panic and memory of actually taking someone's life for Pete's sake.  (who is this Pete anyway? and did you ever notice the word ASS is in embarrass?  I just noticed....)  SQUIRREL! (I am so unable to focus lately)

So it got me thinking, there's a lot of dumb ass stuff we runners do, not all of us, not all the time, but we've all done something we shouldn't, at least once.

You have to pass a test before you get your driver's license and God knows you should have to pass one to be a parent, so why should we not have a code, a pledge, a "gentleman's agreement" if we lace up & pound the pavement?

I have attempted to capture a few things that I find important, as a runner, and as the operator of a motor vehicle (and yes, I'm aware I'm a bad driver, but STILL.....) and list them here.

Feel free to add on if I missed something, just be aware that I'm apparently a man-hating American whore and as such I need to "approve" your comments before they are published, you know in case you're some douche-bag with no life from Australia...

So much for instant gratification, eh?  I apologize for any comment-approving delays that may occur because I'm too busy hatin' the man.  Here is the CODE, in no particular order:

1.  I will always wear reflective shit if I run in the dark, near dark, pitch dark or kinda dark.  I will wear it if I think I might still be running hours later in the dark even if I leave while it's light.  This should include things like a headlamp, knuckle lights, reflective vest, reflective shoes, clothes that resemble fruit loops in color and/or blinkie lights if you have them.  At least two items from this list should be worn.

2.  If I choose to run in the dark, near dark, pitch dark or kinda dark I will (in particular if you don't have a penis on you) run with at least ONE HUMAN BUDDY.  It does NOT matter if the buddy has a penis or not, just remember safety in numbers.  A dog, as great as they are, does not count.  I'm sorry.

3.  I will NEVER assume that a car sees me.  Even in broad daylight.  Even when I've made eye contact (or so I think).  I will wait for the wave or nod before I move.  This includes, but is not limited to driveways, stop signs or parking lots. 

4.  I will obey the traffic laws, even if it means I have to stop and wait until the crosswalk light says walk.  That means I have to pause my Garmin and stop, and yes it sucks.  But you don't want to be the bug on someone's windshield that doesn't see you and goes flying through the intersection.

5.  I will NOT run when I am injured.  It only makes things worse.  Your BRF will miss you for a few runs, but the endless hours you'll log because you didn't have to have something surgically repaired will be just desserts for the down time.  Speaking of dessert and downtime, be careful there.....dangerous territory.

6.  I will take water with me on long runs, when it's hot, or any combination thereof.  And fuel.  If I need fuel I'll bring that too.  And if I run with a buddy, I'll be sure to have fuel for said buddy in case they forget.  (I've been the forgetter......more than once, thank BRF for the Skittles)

7.  I will compete with myself, every time I race, and even if I have a shitty time I'll high five the CRAP out of all my running buddies, regardless of how I'm feeling. (I have never met anyone who didn't do this, just thought it should be part of the CODE).  Runners are generally the most supportive bunch of athletes I know.

8.  I will not attend any race and post myself at the "2 miles to go mark" and hold a sign that says"You're Almost There" because that's just not done.  Thank you Another Mother Runner ladies for bringing that to my attention.  (note, this was not an original thought, thank you again Sarah Bowen Shea)  This should unequivocally and absolutely be part of THE CODE.

9.  I will always, no matter what, be proud of what I accomplish.  Every run.  Every time.

10.  I will always be proud of my running buddy too.

Above all else, if you see  Maude out there running, slap her on the ass and tell her to relax a little, would ya?

Love always,
Maude, the menopausal maniac
AKA Amy Little
AKA the man-hating American woman whore