Monday, May 04, 2015

My Dear Topaz

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I had an appointment for Topaz at the veterinarian on Tuesday for his yearly exam. He was scheduled for a blood test for his Deramaxx refill which he takes for his arthritis and his rabies vaccination.



As I drove to his appointment I was thinking how nice it was to be going to the vet without a fear in my heart regarding Lyme disease or his arthritis. He’s been doing very well.



We arrived and the tech asked Topaz to stand on the scale. 45 pounds, the same weight for 13 years, even though his running is now walking and only a few miles a day. He is wider through the rib cage than in his younger and leaner life but still weighs the same. I had to chuckle. Age will do that to dogs and women alike .



We sat in the vet’s office and waited. The tech came in and took the general info. Heartworm test and preventative? No thanks.  Lymes vaccination? No thanks, he has been vaccinated in the past and  ended up with Lymes anyway.  Lymes test? Nope. I’ve been applying preventative and he’s good, thanks. Deramaxx refill? Yes. Stool sample? No. Rabies? Yes.  Bordetella? No. Leptospirosis? No.



Really, we don’t need all of these things. He isn’t in a kennel, isn’t going to get kennel cough. He isn’t going to have a fight with a wild animal no Leptospirosis. His poop doesn’t show worms.



After the tech gave him his rabies shot the vet arrived. He checked his eyes.  Cataracts are still there, growing. Yes, his sight has diminished somewhat in the last year. Lungs sounded good, but breathing a bit labored. Yes, his breathing does seem more labored. When lying down he breathes quite heavily and snores more loudly more often.  His lump near the back of the front leg has grown quite a bit, highly probable that it is still a fatty deposit. Could aspirate it? No thanks. It’s good. The lump above the front leg is growing, although not too much. Aspirate? No thanks.



Vet continues his exam.  He palpates his abdomen. He is there too long. I think about his growing width in the rib cage. He weighs the same. This is  not a fatty deposit. I can tell by the look on his face.



He stands. He tells me that Topaz has a very large tumor upon his spleen, the  size of a cantaloupe. It could be cancerous. It might not be. Either way it is not good. He could perform surgery. Remove the tumor. If it is cancerous he would undergo chemotherapy. No no no.  He will not go through chemotherapy. At his age, almost 14, he could have difficulty recovering from any surgery.



He didn’t take a blood test for the Deramaxx. He told me not to order more than a month at a time. He refilled the prescription.



Topaz is comfortable. He is not in pain. He walks with me, is eating, drinking and relieving himself. He is his happy, older self.  I never would have guessed the outcome of our appointment.



The  tumor will outgrow its current location  and Topaz will show symptoms. I won’t allow him be in pain. I’ll give to him his last gift from me.  Relief. Love.



I love this dog so very much. You all know that. Even though we understand that when we bring animals into our life  they are not going to last forever, it doesn’t make it any easier when we lose them.  It hurts. It is horrible.



Topaz and I gave one another the best life we could. I know that God's grace will allow me to endure.







Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Friday Night Family Fun!

My nephew helped me cook up a storm this past Friday. It was So much fun sharing my joy of cooking with him.

On the menu:

Brown Rice

Guacamole - avocado, garlic, olive oil, sea salt in the Vitamix

Hummus - chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, sea salt in the Vitamix

Garlicky Kale and Roasted Chickpeas-
6 cups torn kale
30 oz can chickpeas
Olive Oil
3 Tbsp cumin, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 Tbsp paprika, 3 tsp ginger, 2 tsp coriander, 2 tsp cardamom. 
Dressing-1 head garlic - roasted
1/4 cup tahini
2 Tbsp olive oil + more for roasting garlic
2 lemons, juiced (~1/3 cup)
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
Tear the kale and place in large bowl. Roast chickpeas with olive oil and spices for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Roast garlic at same time. Prepare dressing. Pour chickpeas onto kale, top with dressing. Fabulous!


Burritos-beef, refried beans, seasoning, flour, wheat and corn tortillas and fixings: cheese, salsa, sour cream, hot sauce

Roasted brussel sprouts because we always have roasted brussel sprouts!

Blue Corn and Black Bean chips

Vegan donuts with lemon icing.  I was going to make with espresso icing but midstream we chose lemon, instead :)



  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (carton not canned)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or agave*
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-4.5 cups flour (give or take)
  • ESPRESSO GLAZE-I made lemon glaze
  • 1 shot quality espresso or strong coffee (2-3 T)  I used lemon juice instead
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • STREUSEL TOPPING: (optional)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons butter (non-dairy for vegan)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons flour
  • I didn't use the streusel topping-we sprinkled with sprinkles :)
Instructions
  1. Bring soy milk, oil, maple syrup or agave, and sugar to a boil in a small sauce pan.
  2. Once boiling, remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm or 110 F (30 minutes)
  3. Once cooled, stir in yeast and let set for 5-10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, add 4 cups of flour and salt, then add to wet mixture and stir, mixing well, then covering with a towel and letting rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  5. Once doubled in size, add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, (or until the dough is no longer incredibly sticky). Mix well and then let the dough sit for about 10 minutes.
  6. On a floured surface make about 2-inch balls and place them on a lightly greased cookie sheet, leaving room for expansion.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 and cover with light towel while warming.
  8. Once preheated, bake for 10-11 minutes, being careful not to over bake as you don't want the bottoms too brown.
  9. Prepare glaze and streusel while baking. Once donuts are done, let them cool slightly and then dunk in glaze and cover with streusel. I put the streusel on both top and bottom, and would recommend it for best flavor.
  10. Serve immediately for best result, or store in air-tight container for up to 2 days.
This made 12 large donuts that I baked in two 9 inch round cake pans. I had to bake them for 20 minutes, probably because they were larger than 2". 

These donuts were all gone within 24 hours! 



We also brewed a batch of KOMBUCHA. What a blast!



Getting our supplies together.






Checking the PH.


Time to brew for 3 weeks !







Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sunday Funday


Sunday Funday!

I take an hour each Sunday to prep meals for the week. First I attend service at New Life in Princeton, head over to the fresh produce section at Cobornes and then home to prep. One hour and I’m set for the week.

This week I roasted brussel sprouts, carrots, onion and sweet potato.  I chopped carrots and shredded cabbage.  I soaked chickpeas and prepared quinoa and brown rice. I blended hummus and was all set!



45 minutes later I was cleaning up. Easy peasy!

In the morning I grab some spinach, kale, prepped roasted veggies, chickpeas and quinoa-splash of balsamic, salt and pepper. I blend spinach, strawberries, scoop of protein powder and coconut milk. Pour into blender bottle and I'm ready for work.



For dinner I roll a few items into a wrap or create a bowl. A smashed up avocado, hummus and some blue corn chips...fabulous!!





 Just and idea to show how easy eating whole foods can be. Seriously!

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

My Authentic Self


Sometimes I really surprise myself.  I don’t know how this all happened, in the realm of two days..but it has happened and I like it. I feel liberated...from myself?



I have been coloring my hair for 25  years. I first began with foil highlights added in to my strawberry blonde hair. The darker blonde would grow in and back to my colorist I would run.  After a few pregnancies my hair grew in darker. I’ve gone brunette, blonde, red…all colors of the rainbow. The past 10 years I’ve been coloring and foiling to keep up with the gray. Or the darks. I'm not sure what color my hair is any more.  I hadn’t even thought of the alternative: my authentic self.  My gray self.



I’ve heard others say “I’m not ready to be old” and I’ve just nodded my head in agreement. Gray and old are no longer synonymous in my world. One might begin to gray at 25, or 45 or 65. Age is how I live. Not how I look. Age is how I feel. Now how I look.



I have a couple of fantastic  friends who sport their gray beautifully.  I’ve always looked at them with longing as I wished I could do the same but that's where my thought would end. I’d then make the call for an appointment and I’d go to my stylist.   $150 every 6-8 weeks for color, foil, cut, style, wax and tip.



As I was driving into work yesterday I saw the grays and darks coming through my roots and thought to myself that  my last appointment was February 15, it’s about time to call for an appointment-I came into work and thought about my hair. Why do I continue to color it? Why do I continue to change who I am. I haven’t had botox-my skin is who I am. I haven’t had liposuction. My body is who I am. I realized I no longer wanted to color my hair. I want to be my authentic self.



My authentic self.



That’s who I want to be. Who I am. Gray hair and all.






During the course of one day I realized I no longer want those chemicals placed upon my head. My hair is dry and processed. My head itches. I live a pretty healthy life. I consume a plant based diet, we grow food in our garden, I move my body daily, I do what I can to battle the genes I was dealt. Why would I continue to place chemicals upon my scalp? It was the normal.

 
I sometimes make the mistake of thinking that what I look like is more important than who I am.



No longer.  Granted, I’m only 7 weeks from my last foil. I’m only 2 days into this way of thinking. I’m thinking of beautiful Nancy, Karen, Simona, Bonnie, Denise, Twyla and Lynette, with their beautiful silver hair. They are their authentic selves.




Women with gray hair strike me as being high priestesses of sorts. They are  beyond societal beauty norms so much so that they've created their own niche where they are alluring without the battle of aging. We  are beautiful as gray or blonde or brown. 

These  women are also beautiful because they aren't slaves to narcissism. They have the moxie to take their vanity in moderation, which gives them an air of wisdom and strength.


Gray. Silver. Authentic. Me. I’m going with it. 

Are you rockin' your gray? Are you coloring?

I'll keep you posted. I'll let you know if I continue to feel this way.  Who knows? I could change my mind.

For now, it feels right.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Run On!


…and in the 4th month…she RAN.  RAN for REALZZZ!

Yeah, what a long recovery! It seems to be my latest pattern..a pattern which I need to break. I heal, I train hard, I run a couple of 100 mile races..and I heal a few months. So not cool.

As I’ve posted, I had morton’s neuroma excise on January 9.  I healed quite well from that but each time I ran after receiving a full release of activity from my surgeon, my knee swelled up like a melon!  The pain!  It felt like a grinding of bone deep in my knee. After the swelling would go down I’d try it again. Same thing. 

A few years ago while crossfitting a few times a week and running long distance I began to have some knee problems. After an MRI I learned my knee is bone on bone.
After a week off the pain subsided. It hadn’t really hurt since.

After surgery I purchased a pair of Altra’s as they are advertised to have a wide toe box.  I’ve been wearing Inov-8s since McNaughton 100, 2004, when I received a sponsorship from them. I am fortunate to still have this sponsorship. I receive a dozen pair a year.  Well, every once in a while I stray and have bad results.  (Hoka OneOne 2013 when I broke my ankle). I had been wearing the Altra’s since surgery.  For some reason, last Monday I pulled out my trusty Inov-8s that I finished Superior 100 in. I went out to Lake Maria with Topaz and what do you know? I began to jog, braced for the knee pain..and ..nothing!  No pain!  I couldn’t believe it. I laughed out loud, I smiled like a crazy woman. Topaz grinned from ear to ear!  I ran. I didn’t hurt. I ran for 2 hours in the beautiful woods on the soft trail. It was fabulous. I thanked God. I have been praying for this for months. God works in amazing ways. In so many ways in my life right now.

Since Monday I have been running each day. No pain. No swelling. It’s incredible.

I won’t be running The Gnarly Bandit as I had planned. I won’t be running Zumbro 100 next Friday. There is always next year!  I will be at Zumbro as Aid Station Captain for Aid Station Sand Coulee 2/3 all weekend. I’m looking forward to it, to giving back to the sport that I love.  If you will be down there be sure to say Hello!!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Recovery

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Boy, February blew by in a blast! Troy is coming home from U of M for the weekend to celebrate his 19th, or 4.75th birthday!  My Leap Year baby. I’m looking forward a weekend with the family. We’ll spend time in St Cloud with Tyler, tomorrow.

Thought I’d post an update on the Morton’s Neuroma surgery.  My foot is healing very  well. I have no more pain-a bit of swelling when I over-do it. I am able to run/jog a few miles before I can feel that it has had enough. I’m good with that. Eventually I’ll add more miles.

Last week while running I noticed that my knee began to swell and there was quite a bit of pain. WTH? I kept running, figuring it would go away. Yeah, well it didn’t. It swelled more. I’ve been icing and massaging, trying to get it to go down. Whatever.

I’ve been back in the gym the past two weeks now that I can place full weight on my foot. I need to do SOMETHING to lessen my anxiety/depression. I know that running served that cause in the past and am finding other ways to alleviate the symptoms. I find myself wondering if booze served that cause in the past? I suppose so.  Lifting is certainly helping. I did an 8 week CrossFit bootcamp which was a lot of fun. Now I’m lifting heavy shit again. I love it.



So it goes. Living each day the best I can. Life is GOOD!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

4 YEARS POST HYSTERECTOMY AND RUNNING

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Hysterectomy Recovery For Runners: the phrase that is most searched that reaches my blog.  I thought I'd take the time to complete a follow up on my hysterectomy related to running.

It’s been 4 years since my radical complete hysterectomy. Time has really moved along!  I had it all removed vaginally: the  uterus, the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, the cervix. I had surgery at Mayo in Rochester after my mother, grandmother and aunts were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and cervical cancer.  I had been having a vaginal ultrasound and CA125 (blood test) every 6 months since my Mother’s diagnosis, 9  years ago. Once the tumors on my ovaries began to grow and my CA125 began to increase, it was time to go under the knife.



First of all, there is SO MUCH MISINFORMATION regarding running and hysterectomy!  Who writes that shit? I was truly scared that I wouldn’t run again after all of the garbage I read. I even read from multiple sources that women NEED high levels of estrogen to run. Why? How? What? Ridiculous!



After I had decided to have the hysterectomy I began to look up articles relating to women, hysterectomy and ultra running. There isn’t much out there. I found a site called Hystersisters that had a few running articles available from women but most were dismal, depressing and had the ‘why me’ syndrome. Give me a break.



(if you click on  Hysterectomy  on the left bar you will find all of my hysterectomy related posts)



So, yes, I do run. I run many miles. I love running now just as much as I did prior to hysterectomy.  If you are here researching running and hysterectomy let me tell you that YOU WILL RUN again!  Do not fear that you will have to sit on the couch and become inactive other than the bon bons to the mouth syndrome. Not so. There are changes, however.



I am 50 now. I had my surgery at 46. I hadn’t even started menopause and I believe that banging full force into menopause via hysterectomy is more difficult on one that mellowing up to it…naturally experiencing  a reduction of hormones. I began hot flashes while in the hospital, the day after the surgery. They are still constant and very intense but hey, I can live with them. I no longer change my sheets during the middle of the night..I just go back to sleep in a pile of wet sheets. I became very tired of changing sheets every night. Forget it!



Due to the constant hot flashes I now keep the house at 67F. I’m never cold. I used to keep the house at 72F. No thanks! 



At work I always froze. FROZE!  I wore multiple layers and never removed them. I wore lots of fleece. Now I wear 2 layers and always remove one during the day.



I run with many zippers! I sometimes feel like a hot sausage running down the trail. Zippers allow me to let the steam escape and cool down. Whew! Then I get cold and zip back up.



After the hysterectomy I incurred injury. I experienced a double-whammy. While recovering from hysterectomy I laid upon the couch, looking at my iPhone and iPad, I watched TV with my neck to my chin..I guess. Apparently that movement caused stress upon my spine. I didn’t know it until July, but I herniated two discs in my upper spine-neck at this time.  Painful as hell.



(if you click on herniated discs on the left you will see my posts relating to the discs)



I began to walk slowly in the week  following surgery and by week  two I was walking 4-5 miles each day. Really!



At 6 weeks my surgeon released my restrictions and told me to run freely!  I did!  I was feeling fabulous and began to train for a March half marathon. It went great-other than a bit of dizziness. 

click on Get Luck Half Marathon for the report



After a few months I was feeling a numbness in my right arm. I thought it was due to reaching for the phone at work but eventually was in so much fricken pain I couldn’t run. That is when I learned I had herniated discs. Ugh!



That recovery sucked big time – 4 months or so, but eventually all was well in my world and I was running hundreds again and completely forgot about the herniated discs that I had.



Fast forward a few years and I roll my ankle at Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon. Fractured Ankle.  Superior 100 a few months later. Broken Ankle.Same Ankle. I didn't let it heal.



While recovering from the broken ankle I became depressed.  My mom had passed away from ovarian cancer, my nest was going to become empty soon as Troy would be leaving for college, I was gaining weight with the inactivity. I went to my doctor who I've had since 1991 and decided to go on an antidepressant. They help.



After the ankle healed I went off the antidepressant and continued with my running goals. I thoroughly enjoyed last year. I had a great year. Ran a few marathons, 50Ks, 50 milers and two hundreds. Love that. The depression lifted.



Then Morton’s Neuroma  reared its ugly head.  I found myself depressed, went back on the anti depressant and am now healing. Thank goodness! Now, men have broken ankles and neuroma and this probably isn’t all due to hysterectomy. It’s just ironic that I have rolled ankles before but never broke one!  I had never worn Hokas with a roll though, before, either.  These injuries are probably due to overuse, age, hysterectomy, a bit of everything. 

But why aren't there many women in their 50s and 60s running 100s? That's my big question. I don't understand. In our 50s our children are grown and gone..I would think we have more time to spend to train and travel. Wouldn't it be a great time to run ultras?



After receiving the blood work, blood pressure, cholesterol counts and scale weight at the clinic I had a long conversation with my awesome doctor and we knew what I needed to do to change those results. We went through all of my data. We spoke of what is different now from when I had my healthiest test results. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer..it all runs rampant in my family. My numbers were best while I was eating a vegan diet 2008-2010. Interestingly enough I ran all my PRS from 50K to 100 mile during that time.



(If you click vegan on the left bar you’ll see the related posts)

(if you click Leanhorse you will see the vegan training/outcome)




Just  know, you will run again after hysterectomy. It doesn’t have to have any bearing upon your running at all. Don’t use it as a reason NOT to have hysterectomy. Hysterectomy will affect other areas of your life- you may experience some depression, some weight gain, some injuries, some hot flashes, some memory loss..or you may not..but it doesn’t have to change anything  about your running! You will run again!



If you have ANY questions relating to running and hysterectomy or anything else, please ask! Drop me a comment, let me know how you are dealing with hysterectomy and running or what your fears may be.