January 14, 2019

Today was an emotional day for me. Day 24 of the government shutdown. I don’t know when I will get my next paycheck. I’m one of the 800,000 federal employees that are dealing with this stress. This isn’t political post and I don’t care to engage in any discussions.

Today I opened my email and saw my blood work they took prior to chemo last Friday was ready to be viewed. The full blood work is always in by Monday so nothing new there. However, my tumor marker was run this time and it had increased since it was last drawn on November 30. I have a lot of emotions in my head right now. I am not interested in discussing any at this time.

By sharing this day with you I don’t ask for much. I ask only that you think before you say federal employees deserve this, know this is my personal battle, there are 799,999 other employees that have their own personal battles. So be kind to others and use your words wisely for you never know the battles others are truly facing.

January 3, 2019

This month will be about relearning my body or perhaps I should say learning my new normal. Chemo effects how the muscles recover and I have to learn how quickly they can recover.

I will be using the first couple weeks to discover how many days a week I can do a gym session, how hard I can train and that will determine my training split. On days I can’t do a gym lift my plan will be for an active recovery. Active recoveries will vary but I will always make sure they include squats.

I took an active recovery today. It started with a recovery ride using the peloton app. Then for daily squats today, I did front squats. I kept it simple 3×10 bar only. Now I am guessing I haven’t done front squats in over a year. I will need to start adding those in more if I expect them to improve. I finished with some GHD back extensions(no added weight) and GHD sit ups(no added weight).

I hope everyone worked toward their goals today. Have a fantastic evening. Until next time my friends.

January 1, 2019

Happy 2019!!

Everyone feels a certain kind of way about resolutions. I personally, like to make goals and lists. I love them actually. Its like a challenge I must conquer. I know last year I didn’t set any. I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to train, diet or anything that I really enjoyed doing. I couldn’t get into the right mentality for anything. I know I had took a bunch of hits so, I allowed myself to take 2018 off and try to wrap my head around my new normal. It’s a hard thing for me. I was used to being able to do almost everything and now I struggle to do anything. So that was what I used 2018 to do. I gave myself time to mentally heal.

This year I have such a good outlook on everything. I can’t wait for everything I plan on doing. I’m not even going to give spoilers.

So I started my day off right. I got on my spin bike then right into my home gym for my squats. I went to the gym down the street for a great shoulder workout. I didn’t even break my fast till after 1pm when I was heading up to spend the afternoon with family.

I can’t even express how much I missed the gym. The gym is more than just the physical benefits, its a great outlet for me. For example, if I had a bad day, a good lift would make me feel better. Don’t get me wrong I miss being in shape too but that will come back.

I kept trying to train last year but I was just going through the motions. It wasn’t enjoyable and I found it stressing me out. I tried everything, changing gyms, going back to stronglift training, only training at home. Nothing was working to remove this dark cloud so to speak. However, today it has been lifted.

The best part of a new year, it’s the perfect time for a new start. Yes I’m gonna say it. New year, new me!!

I hope you are enjoying the daily posts. I will try to keep consistent with them as much as I can. I will also be doing my cancer journey as well. Those will be in parts. It’s very emotional going back to the beginning but I feel it’s going to be very healing for me.

My first and last Mammogram

My mammogram was the following Monday August 7, 2017. At this time only a few people were aware I was going through this or I would have thought to bring someone with me for support. Later I would be told by many to never go to any appointments by myself. I suggest if you are going through anything like this I would recommend bringing someone.

I arrived at the imaging center in the women’s part of the hospital. I was only 36 so therefore I had never needed a mammogram before. After 40 is when they start recommending women to have one, for those that may not know. I was very much out of my element. It was so cold in there too so that didn’t help things either. Once I was taken back they bring you into this room with individual dressing rooms where there is a robe, you are instructed to undress waist up then put your things in a locker and then you wait with some other women in the chairs outside the dressing rooms. I was the youngest there by at least 30 years. I felt like everyone knew there must be something wrong with me. They didn’t, it was all in my head. After a bit my name was called I followed the technician who would be my mammographer. The first impression of the machine was like its huge and glowing. The first machine I was on, yes I end up on another machine but more on that later, it was intimidating. She explained what was about to happen and made an uncomfortable experience as comfortable as it could be.

For anyone who hasn’t had one of these you have to walk up to the machine and hold on to these handles, place one breast up and she jammed(yes jammed) these clear plastic things around it. Then she went around the corner and activated the machine. I liked this machine best since the colors kinda distracted me from what was happening. After a few images of the left breast she’s like ok lets do the right. I’m like, I’m only here for the left. She explains they need a baseline to compare. Next thing I know we got the right one up there and she take the first image and goes hmm. I’m like wait what?? She says the doctor that reviews these will want more images of the microcalcifications. Given I was still back at the “hmm”. Fast forward more images were taken then I was returned to a chair outside the dressing rooms.

Most of the other ladies had come and gone. I was waiting for my ultrasound of the mass in my left breast. Immediately I was searching on the internet to find the meaning of microcalcifications in the breast. I was a wreck reading everything I possibly could. Honestly what was the possibility of both breasts having something. (insert eye roll) I was interrupted by my mammographer calling me again to get more images of the left breast. This was done on another machine that wasn’t pleasant. And it hurt so much!! Which in my mind was a good sign cause everyone was saying cancer tumors don’t hurt. (insert another eye roll)

Back I found myself in the chair waiting for my ultrasound. I was called into this other room. It was dark there with some pleasant classical music playing. I was instructed to lay on the table and the procedure began. I had never had never had an ultrasound before so this was all new to me. It was not anything like the mammogram. The technician applied some gel for the wand and focused on the mass and my left armpit since I had swelling under there and felt it may be related.

When the ultrasound concluded I was allowed to get dressed but I had to wait to talk to a nurse. I was taken into a smaller room where this very nice nurse explained what was about to happen. There was a number I could call if I needed someone to talk to. Yup going through my head was I have cancer but they can’t say it officially yet. She told me my doctor office would get the information the next morning and they would be contacting me.

I will never forget the call I received when my doctor’s office told me, the left breast was suspect to be malignant. I would now have to wait to meet with the breast surgeon to see where we go from there.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Next part of my cancer journey will be meeting with my breast surgeon.

December 31, 2018

Another year has come and gone. As you go on social media and you see everyone posting their memories of the year. I had a lot of ups and downs this year. Below is a brief recap of my year.

December 29, 2017 I thought would be my last chemo infusion. I was wrong. It wasn’t all bad. I got to see the Patriots play in Gillette in January which is always amazing. February was my bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. I was very grateful my mother was able to come down and stay with me during recovery. I had no idea how restricted I would be from that surgery. What surgery showed was my pathology of my left cancer was very aggressive(more on this in a later post) and I required radiation to reduce my risk of return. I would find out on March 16 I still had cancer. March 30 I would begin a new chemo drug.

April and May was filled with radiation and chemo which made everything a struggle. I did have one of my friends fly in for a visit in April which was a much needed distraction. In June, I had an amazing birthday trip with one of my friends to Boston for a Red Sox game.

The next big thing was getting a chemo vacation to prepare me for surgery in November. I had an infusion on October 5 then not again till November 30. I felt almost normal again. November 19, I was back under the knife but this time for my final breast reconstruction. I got the tissue expanders removed and the final implants put in.

This brings us to December and I was told I may have to continue this chemo drug beyond April 2019. I will learn more in the beginning of the year about that. Despite having chemo on Dec 21, I was able to enjoy the holiday with family. Now I find myself furloughed as the government shutdown continues. However, I prefer to focus on the positives. I am in a better place right now than I was last year at this time. I have a lot more hair than I did last year. Its been a rollercoaster year but I’m still here. I have good days and bad days. I try to focus on the good versus the bad. Life is good. I am looking forward to the new year ahead.

Happy New Year my friends!

500 Days of Squats

#apinkwarrior is the hashtag I will be using for this journey. Join me if you are feeling up to the challenge. It begins January 1 2019 and will go till May 15 2020.

So why squats? I get this question a lot. It goes back to the HUGE transformation photo before photo… didn’t read that post no worries I will post it again because I’m damn proud of it.

The photo on the left was the first day I began squat everyday. My original plan was to squat for a 100 days. Once I reached 100 I was like why stop there. The photo on the right was day 365. Now during this I changed my diet and began intermittent fasting. Squats became my warm up before every training session. I loved how I felt. I would mix it up between front squats, wide, box, narrow etc. I only made it to 452 days due to ending up in the hospital, not because of lifting, but it was the first time my blood clot from cancer made an appearance. I will discuss more on clot in a later post.

Through cancer I have been trying to gain some control back in my life. It was time to reach my goal of 500 days of squats. Join me, follow me, it will if anything be an adventure.

I will be posting updates here, on my Instagram @krissirae3 and on my twitter @krissirae333

The Fight Begins

I’m going to be taking you through my fight. We will be starting from the beginning. Everyone’s experience is different. I hope my experiences help women who are going through this or about to go through this or perhaps you know someone who is going through this and want to know more so you can help them. Since my initial diagnosis I knew I wanted to be able to help other women get through the toughest battle of all. I will talk about what treatment is like, surgery, how my body has changed, energy levels. It won’t be just limited to treatment, I will be discussing my diet choices, getting back to lifting, and my transformation both mentally and physically. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, however, it isn’t all dark and stormy either.

I now see the world from a different point of view. My outlook on life has changed and I’m glad it has. I’m grateful for every day!

Thanks for joining me in my battle for my life!