Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Crossing the finish line...

Today marked an incredible first for me! My alkaline level tested at 7.5, which has never happened before.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the alkaline/acid levels in your body and how they impact your health. a 7.5 is the ideal number. When your body is too acidic, under the 7 range (or maybe 6.5), you are much more susceptible to disease. For instance, my levels tended to be in the 6 range throughout my cancer treatment, no matter how many vegetables I ate or green drinks I consumed. I am officially detoxed!

Success! As today is the night before my two-year anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis, it feels really good to know that my body is healthy inside.

So, once again, I didn't sleep last night. I felt very tired and kind of weak today and it is hard to tell if that is because I am wanting more solid food or if I'm just exhausted from sleeplessness. Probably a combination of the two. I will not lie: I am hungry.

Today's drinks were delicious! If I were to rank my favorite flavors of the cleanse:

1. The smoothies--satisfied my sweet tooth
2. the juices--really fresh and enjoyed the variety
3. the elixirs--yummy and right in the nick of time in the late afternoon
4. the salads--tasty and you get to chew!
5. the soups--I am not really a soup person. I rarely, if ever, eat it. These were definitely tasty and unique and if you do love soup, you'll be in heaven.

Overall, this has to be the freshest, most satisfying and varied cleanse around. The care and love put into every single detail from the packaging to the preparation is obvious. I felt supported and was able to ask questions and ask for help at any time. Lisa and Meredith were very responsive.

I will admit: I resisted cleanses for years and only tried my first one last year in an effort to purify my body from all the drugs and radiation. This is not something I'll do every month! When I do a cleanse again, which will not be for quite a while, it will definitely be Beaming. I am only doing 3 days of the 4 but, feel like I got great benefits!

I feel lighter and leaner and ready to incorporate some of the tools I gained in my everyday diet. I'm also happy to have zero cravings.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day 2: Energy and Emotions

Day 2: Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good night’s sleep last night. I was so sure that I would sleep like a baby because I had no caffeine or sugar. Perhaps all those greens energized me too much? Or, the Full Moon did its thing?

Despite the sleepless night, I did wake up with a lot of energy and that increased once I had my green drink. It is so funny to me that I voluntarily consume beverages with Kale listed as a primary ingredient. If you’d like to hear my true view on Kale, please check out this older post when I was forced to consume it: I enjoyed this morning’s green drink and when I went to teach my 9am yoga class at Reform Yoga, I was flying.

Once again my smoothie was delicious. We had the option of swapping out the lunch soup with the dinner salad. As I think I need the solid food in the middle of the day, I gobbled up the delicious salad. These salads are so delicious and each one has been different. I love the variety. The cleanses I’ve done before became very monotonous and now I look forward to the different juices and meals each day.

My energy remained high in the afternoon and I ended up cleaning the house and finishing up a variety of business projects. Teaching my third class of the day at 7pm was a little bit rough, I must admit. My legs just gave up on me in Garudasana. I had to advise my students to "Do as I say, not as I do." Perhaps I should have rested this evening after such an active day?

I’m happy to be halfway through the cleanse already! I’m going to take advantage of the Beaming Bucks at 20 Lounge in Cardiff and add a honey mask to my pedicure. Yes! I love pampering.

I must admit that I’ve felt a lot of emotions come up today, especially ones from the past. I wonder if I am releasing those as well as the physical toxins? What a fabulous benefit that would be.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy New Year with Beaming Cleanse

If someone had told me two years ago that I would be embarking upon a 4 day post-holiday cleanse and that I would be excited about it, I would have laughed.

Times sure have changed.

Two years ago, on January 12, 2010, I was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. And, this blog documented my rollercoaster of a journey. So much has happened since then and most of it is positive. As I approach my two year anniversary, I want to feel healthy and strong. I've learned how vital nutrition is to radiant health.

I am really excited to be experiencing the Beaming cleanse with several other people in San Diego. Of course, I want to feel rejuvenated, lighter and leaner but, these days I am more focused on detoxifying my body. Like most people, I was a glutton over the holidays and need to break my sugar addiction. Should the side-benefit of weight loss occur from this endeavor, I wouldn't mind one bit.

Day 1: Yesterday, I received my Beaming cleanse bag from the pick-up site in Solana Beach, The Nest. The refrigerated bag unzipped to reveal organized and labeled juices, soups, elixirs and a salad. Everything was numbered in order of how they were to be consumed. I really like how Beaming is making it easy to follow the program. Beautiful presentation: I was very impressed.

I admit that I was worried about not having my daily morning cup of coffee. And, I did feel a little shaky without caffeine until I had Bottle #2 which was a really yummy smoothie. After that, the raw soup for lunch energized me enough to enjoy a walk on the beach. I’m excited for dinner: a scrumptious looking salad. Everything was prepared with care and attention to detail. It feels like I've checked into a luxurious spa vacation and my personal chef is catering to me.

Overall, Day 1 went well and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I really haven't been hungry and more importantly, I'm not craving anything at all, which is amazing.

I’ve picked up Day 2’s container, which just happened to be green. Coincidence?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What a difference a year makes!

February 26th: it was one year ago today that I had my second surgery. Some of you may recall that I referred to it as my Don't put Baby in the Corner day. I don't mean to be an enormous cliche but, I cannot help myself: what a difference a year makes. Today's San Diego Union-Tribune features an article on me called, "Yoga Instructor Doesn't Let Cancer Keep Her Down."

Seriously. I don't know that the link is up yet but, I've got the paper in my hot little hands. Section B. Page 2.

Many have asked me to keep blogging. And, I now feel that I can. My fingers have been tingling to tap the keys. I've been so focused on helping coordinate the Yoga for Hope event on March 5th and on teaching my new classes at MiraCosta College that I haven't had the energy. Ahh, the irony that last year I complained about feeling like I was in limbo, in an incubator, stagnant like a dying pond. Now, it is all I can do to maintain the pace. Again, what a difference a year makes.

Last year at this time, I had months of treatment ahead of me. Now, I'm in the rebuilding phase. I must say that although I'm continuing to get stronger, it isn't as fast as I would prefer. Not fast enough. Never fast enough. But, I need to remind myself how far I've come and be patient. Ahhh, patience. That virtue that failed to miraculously appear. Never had it, and probably never will. I guess I just am eager to gobble up life now.

My yoga practice feels better each time I step onto the mat and I am extremely grateful. I'm so grateful that I can get up and go to class. Period. I can go for hour-long walks again. Even up hills! My hair is now long enough that people think I chose to have a chic short do. Honestly, the hair is too stylish for me! I can't wait until it is longer and I can put it in a ponytail. For now, I am thrilled to have my own hair.

My battle with Tamoxifen, the evil estrogen-blocker that I am sentenced to consume for the next five years, is not progressing well. The side-effects are not disappearing. The side-effects stink. It has gotten to the point where the insomnia was so unbearable that I had to stop taking it. For two blissful weeks, I felt great: no bloating, constipation, hot flashes, depression, mood swings. I've re-started it at a lower dosage, although my doctor doesn't know that yet. I am trying to find that balance between my quality of life now and whether I believe that the tamoxifen is as vital as the medical community tells me. Again, I'm not convinced.

The last few weeks have been a flurry of media activity to promote Yoga for Hope. This event is so amazing and I am thrilled at the positive response we've received.

I need to prepare my speech. It only has to be three minutes but, I want it to be great. Part of the struggle lies in the fact that EVERY survivor has an important story and how is mine unique? All I can do is share my experience and hope that it resonates. No pressure.

I just want to make sure I emphasize that I wouldn't be here without the support and love of everyone in my life. Absolutely, no question: the biggest gift was learning to receive. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Musings on the ending of 2010

For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.
-- T.S. Eliot

As 2010 draws to a conclusion, I must admit that I feel a great deal of pressure to create a few pithy blog entries. Lovely passages that sum up this rollercoaster of a year. Lovely passages thanking all the beautiful people in my life without whom I wouldn't have survived. Lovely passages reflecting in a nice, neat manner all that I am thankful for. Lovely passages listing out all that I have learned. Lovely passages wrapping up this year-long journey in a beautifully wrapped bow.

Wouldn't that be lovely?

Instead, I have to say that December has been scattered, at best. Talk about changes. Endings. Beginnings. I haven't sat down and truly reflected on everything that transpired this year, both cancer and non-cancer related. Or, is everything somehow cancer related because the bulk of my time was spent fighting it?

Last December, I had a reading from a Psychic/Tarot reader who told me that I would receive all I wanted in this lifetime: love, success in my chosen endeavors, passion, security but, at a price. She said that my life was tinged with bittersweet and as long as I could accept the bitter with the sweet, I would be fine. So, in reviewing 2010, let's see if that holds up.

It is so true that you should never give up hope because you never know what is just around the corner. Who could have predicted on January 1st where I would be today? Or, on January 12th, when I was formally diagnosed with cancer?

One of my dreams is to become a successful author: I now have a full manuscript and am in the process of submitting it for publication. What was the price? Cancer. It may take me a while to get it published but, I've proven to myself that I can write daily and be disciplined. Finishing my romance novel is next.

I have grown closer to some amazing people and am thrilled at the richness and depth of the burgeoning relationships. What was the price? Letting go of other relationships that did not withstand the cancer. I know that people often come into your life for a period of time and then move on and that is okay. I am still very sad at some of the losses but, am choosing to accept and let go. My family and true friends have been amazing and I am not yet able to articulate all I am feeling in that regard.

Todd stood by me throughout this most challenging of years and really showed me how real our love is. We are enjoying re-establishing the new normal. I don't know how you ever really thank someone for all the love and selfless devotion it takes to be the partner of someone in treatment for cancer. I guess by healing and moving on? Or, a Rolex?

I just cannot believe that it has been almost a year. Wow. I am not going to say that I am a better person for having cancer because I don't think that I am. It has definitely changed my path and deepened my purpose in helping and healing. But, at the end of the day, I am the same Claire who loves the people in her life, the same Claire that is the little old cat lady in training, the same Claire who loves teaching, the same Claire who likes to rock out to Guns N Roses, the same Claire who yells at all the incompetent drivers, the same Claire that loves bread, cheese, wine and chocolate.

Same old Claire: now if the hair would just grow faster!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Insomnia, insomnia, go away!

It is 1am Sunday night and I cannot fall back asleep. When will the insomnia stop plaguing me? I fell asleep normally but, woke up about 45 minutes ago and sleep eludes me. Instead of suffering in bed, tossing and turning, I'll write.

Why am I awake? Let's see: my lymphedema seems to be acting up a little bit and the giant oven-mitt night sleeve feels extremely tight and constricting. When I removed it to type on the computer, the grooves on my arm are deep. In fact, this sleeve has woken me up numerous nights simply from the discomfort. I guess that means it is working?

Next, the hot flashes are hitting me hard again. I think it is time to see Lois again for some acupuncture. The last round must have worn off or something! As I write, my face feels flushed with heat.

And, tomorrow or should I say today, I've got my first MRI check-up post-treatment. We did the mammogram a few weeks back and they said it looked clear. Well, last September my mammogram was normal and I found the tumor four months later. Not exactly reassuring.

In February, the MRI was one of a myriad of tests that really sucked. Really horrible. They put an IV in my arm with dye and it is painful. Then, they have you lay down in a machine with your boobs in slots as the jackhammering of the machine blots out the rest of the world.

I am not looking forward to it. At all.

So, I guess the combination of these three things is keeping my brain active despite the tiredness of my mind and body.

Life continues to fly at a pace that I can barely keep up with. There is just so much to do! All positive! I continue to remind myself to breathe. Pause and breathe.

Between preparing the syllabus and course outline for the Spring semester at MiraCosta, arranging and attending meetings for the upcoming Yoga for Hope event,, sending out query letters to agents for my proposed book, being interviewed for Vision Magazine, setting up a meeting with a videographer to discuss filming a DVD for Yoga for Cancer Recovery, preparing for Christmas, and continuing to build my yoga practice and physical activity back up to pre-cancer levels and oh yes, teaching, I'm riding the magic carpet ride!

Micaela and Todd from EpicPhotoJournalism took some amazing photos of me for the Yoga for Hope event, including the one in this post. A symbol of rebirth and healing.

I am looking forward to a lull in the activity to sit and reflect on all the changes for 2010. Some powerful transitions and transformations this year. I feel blessed to be feeling as good as I feel and to have so many amazing people in my life.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Emotional a good way

Throughout my treatment, one of my persistent themes seemed to be that I felt stagnant, that life was passing me by, that everyone and everything else was moving forward and I was stuck in cancer treatment limbo.

Well, that phase is most definitely over.

Now, I'm holding on tight as life is speeding along at an incredible rate. The blessings, the gifts, the amazing people that I am meeting, the joy that I am feeling is slightly overwhelming. All in a good way but, wow!

I am really excited about the new job at MiraCosta College starting next month. My hefty HR packet arrived, which makes it all seem very official. I'll be working with an awesome group of people, getting paid to do what I love. I've missed being an active part of a yoga teacher training program and am really looking forward to it. Time to dive deep!

And, I've been blogging less because I've been focused on crafting a query letter to find a literary agent. I'm adapting the blog into a book. Based on all of the feedback that I have received, I believe that I can really help others with my story. So, I've been researching agents and starting the process of getting published. Fingers crossed!

This week has been very emotional. World AIDS Day struck me quite hard as I paused to remember my brother Paul, who died at age 27 and my brother Andre who died at age 34 from this disease. It has been 20-plus years now and still feels like yesterday. I guess you never really get over that type of loss, do you? Tragic. Everything seems to be striking me strongly and that is okay. I've cried more in the last few weeks then I have in the last six months. I guess it is time to release.

On that note, my friend Tracy took me to the most magical, fabulous yoga class ever. We went to the Yinki class at Soul of Yoga on Thursday night. We were in Pigeon for six minutes on each side and the teacher was also performing Reiki healing. I've been battling a hip-flexor issue in my right hip forever. And, after that class, I feel like I've been healed. It is nothing short of miraculous. I'm so excited at this discovery!!

My body finally is starting to feel like MY body again. I took some great classes this week and some shifts are occurring. Finally. Patience is not my greatest virtue (ahem) and it has been a challenge this year to contend with all the delays in returning to a regular yoga and Pilates practice. I feel that I've crossed the line into truly feeling at home in my body again. Unifying the physical with the emotional and mental. At last.

On a comical note, I learned that my body is on the website! They used some of my ambassador photos. If you go to the site, there I am under Jackets and Pants. What is the funny part? My head is cut off. I don't know whether I should feel offended or flattered? I think I'll just stick with amused.