January 3, 2016

The Best Things I Did For Myself in 2015

Before looking forward and making my New Years Resolutions for 2016, I wanted to take a peak back into 2015 and share some of the better changes that I made in the last year. I don’t think these were technically “New Years 2015 Resolutions” – but they were promises that I made to myself as 2015 went along.

1. Getting more sleep – This was a hard one because I am more of a night person, and not a morning person at all.
So to remind myself to go to sleep earlier, I did what I do in the morning – I set an alarm to go to bed. Just like I set an alarm to wake up.

So at 9:30 pm, by cell phone starts ringing. I am usually in the middle of something – doing dishes, watching a tv show, creating my artwork projects, there lots of stuff to do. But that 9:30 pm alarm tells me to “slow down”. Its time to make sure I am in my pajamas with my teeth brushed. Its time for the electronic devices to get turned off. Its time to mellow out and relax. I can sit and watch a little more tv, but the lights need to be dimmed.

Sometimes I do stay up a while longer, but its at a very slow relaxed pace. Usually sipping decaf tea or wine curled up on the sofa with a tv show on low. If I am not sleeping, I am resting.

I don’t set an alarm on Friday or Saturday night because I don’t have to get up early the next day. But I am noticing that my bedtime on Friday or Saturday is a bit earlier than normal just naturally, due to my schedule on other days of the week.

2. Waking Up Earlier – See above. Setting an alarm at 9:30 pm to tell myself to go to bed, has given me a ton more energy. I am not up earlier all the time. But there have been many days that I just naturally wake up a half hour before the morning alarm clock goes off. And I feel well rested.

3. Getting Ready for the Week – this is an organization skill that I picked up from a friend. The friend told me that they couldn’t go out on a Sunday night because they spend that time “Getting ready for the week”. With a hectic job schedule, social life, church, hobbies and other things going on, it made sense.

On Sunday after church, I usually stop off at the grocery store so I have everything that I need for the week. On Sunday evenings I make a point to cook both my breakfast and my lunch for the next few days. They go into the fridge in glass containers ready to microwave at the office. Organic Oatmeal with different fruits, and hard boiled eggs for breakfast. Usually some type of low sodium chicken dish with roasted vegetables and rice or potatoes for lunch. I make sure I have my fruit, nuts, snacks, yogurt, whatever, in a bag and ready to go to the office in the morning.

I also pull out a couple of outfits from the closet, so they are hanging right where I can see them. The office is casual so I can easily mix tops with jeans or black slacks. But I also take into consideration any after work plans for the week so I have those clothes out where I can see them. This eliminates a morning of not knowing what to wear.

So these are the changes in that I made during the year 2015. They made me more rested. I am eating healthier. I have more energy. And have helped me eliminate some stress.

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February 5, 2012

Follow up to my latest Cancer Story

Follow up to my latest Cancer story

I posted yesterday about my ordeal over the summer of 2011 which included a lengthy hospital stay.

I am now 7 years out from the breast cancer (lumpectomy, radiation treatment, refused the chemo).
Now in 2011, two completely unrelated cancers: beginnings on Uterus cancer, with hyperplasia. And a uterus sarcoma.

So thats three totally different cancers. Plus, you have to consider that my mother died from skin cancer.

Well, I just got the results of my first ever PET scan. And all was clear !
No sign of any more cancer anywhere.
Thats a welcomed relief!

In my opinion, The PET scan is much better than a CT Scan.
With the PET scan you have to stop eating carbs the evening before. Then you fast.
They inject some kind of radioactive surgery an hour before the scan. And some how it magically lights up any tumors.
It took about an hour for me to go through the PET scanner. There was also some type of CT scan done as well.
They say the PET scan has more radioation, but that means it can detect smaller tumors.

I didn’t suffer any bad effects from it, even though I am hypoglycemic.
The technician said the radioactive sugar is different from real sugar, so it does not get digested or whatever the same way.
I was really hungry afterwards. And a tiny bit sick to my stomach later in the day. But that could have been an effect of wolfing down a
Fat Burger and onion rings after fasting for a day.

I remember after my CT scan years ago, that I was sick for days after drinking all that stuff, and being injected with the contrasting stuff.
I might have been allergic to it.
But with the PET scan, and reaction was extremely minor, if any. It was probably the fast food.

I do find a little dark humor to the PET scan instructions.
For 8 hours afterwards stay away from small children, pregnant woman and public restrooms.
I assumed that meant also not picking up my cat as well.
It resulted in me posting really stupid jokes on my facebook page: “Just call me Chernobyl” and “I’m glowing in the dark”.

When I went to the doctors office the other day he seemed more interested in giving me the results of the Genetic blood testing they did.
They were trying to see if I had a “Genetic mutation” that caused me to develop three different kinds of cancers.
But the genetic tests all came back negative.
If I have to have a genetic mutation I would rather be able to see through walls or morph into things anyway.

After the doctor went on and on about the genetic blood test… with me sitting on the edge of my seat, I finally said “Yes, but
what about the PET scan?!?!”.
He said the pet scan was clear, no cancer – Just eat lots of fruits and vegetables, get plenty of sleep, exercise and take a good vitamin and
mineral supplement.

I was very happy to tell people that the only results my PET showed was that I am Old and Fat.
Just basic regular health stuff that needs to be dealt with.

So I am back to regular life for now. I will just keep going until I fall over.
Wish me luck with my Old and Fat problems. Those are good problems to have.

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February 4, 2012

My Horrible Summer of 2011

My terrible Summer of 2011

Yes, I have been MIA for a while. I am just now getting back into being able to spend time posting.
I had a horrible summer in 2011 where I was in and out of the hospital, some of it very unexpected.

An Ultrasound and a “D and C” in April showed hyperplasia and a polyp, but no cancer.
In May 2011, I went in for a total hysterectomy – and they found not one, but two totally different types of cancer.

Endometrial cancer with only 10% myometrial invastion, Figo rating Stage 1. So it was a brand new cancer.
And also, a low grade Endometrial stromal Sarcoma. That big thing that showed up on the ultrasound was not a fibroid but a
rare stromal sarcoma that was bigger than a babies head. About 11 cenitmeters.
You know how dialated they want you to be to deliver a baby? Well, it was bigger than that.
And it was there way back 6 years ago when I had the stage one breast cancer – but it was only 2 centimeters on that CT scan.
So it was sitting on my uterus all those years growing and no one suspected it.

Then in July 2011, after I was healed from the first surgery. we decided to go in and get some lymph node samples.
An easy, overnight Robot surgery with the DiVinci robotic machine.
Just a few holes in my stomach and I could go home the next day.
Not a chance. I was in the hospital 21 days.

Well, it turns out I am one of those people who creates a web of scar tissue when a surgeon touches their innards.
It was very hard for the doctor to see where the robot arms were going. My previous surgery created lots of scar tissue.
They got lymph node samples, scar tissues samples – and then my small intestine got punctured.

If you aren’t familar with having a small intestine punctured – well, it can kill you.
Your abdominal cavity is sterile. All the stuff your stomach and body makes after you eat stays inside your intestines.
But if that stuff leaks out into your abdominal cavity, it is really bad. Its a toxic state.

So instead of feeling perky and ready to go home the next day – I was curled up in a ball in my bed with sweat pouring off me.
The doctor figured something got punctured, and took me off all food immediately. And started me on 3 different antibiotics.

About one week of horrid tests.
Two horrid Barium tests. One where they tried to make the stuff taste like coconut.
And another where the barium was so bitter that I refused the test.
The head of the radiology came in to try to help me – and I told him he needed to place a complaint with the pharmaceutical company. I asked
if I was the first person to taste the barium and refuse the test. He said No, people refuse to do it all the time, and they complain to
the pharmaceutical company about the taste but it does no good.

I was supposed to drink about eight bottles of bitter barium. I got about a half of a bottle down, and they got me to drink more coconut
flavored barium. Then they stuck me in a CT scanner – and they found the leak.

Oh, but not without a test where they stabbed me in the stomach to get fluid samples. Yes, through my abdominal wall and my stomach muscle.
Novocaine doesn’t help much.
I now know what it feels like to be stabbed in the stomach with a steak knife.

My doctor calls me at 8pm to tell me she will be there in an hour for emergency surgery.
She comes to my room, and she sees my Catheter. The urine looks like fresh squeezed orange juice.
Her face turns bright red and she is fuming. She wants to know why none of the nurses called her..
I tell her I have told them three times that day about the strange urine in my catheter.

The toxic substance from my punctured intestine had leaked onto my bladder, created a hole in the bladder, and it leaked out into my catheter.
Which turns out to be a Big Blessing in Disguise, because even though I now had a hole in my bladder – alot of the leakage from my intestine
has not stayed in my body. Its in the catheter bag along with bladder tissue.

At midnight I was in Surgery with my Oncologist, a Urologist, a Gastrointestinal surgeon (or as a friend calls him “The Gassy Doctor”), a Kidney
Specialist, and then also a Heart Specialist.

After they patched up the hole in my intestine, and the hole in my bladder and the surgery was ending – my heart spead up and raced and then
slowed down dangerously slow.
The Heart Specialist explained that they had rinsed my Abdominal Cavity out with a Sterile Liquid about three times to make sure there was no
intestinal fluid left were it shouldn’t be. And because there is so much water in your system, it can throw your electrolytes off causing your
heart to race.
My oncologist seems to think it was because they put some kind of IV or tube threw a vein, and she thinks it touched my heart causing it to
freak out.
I wonder if they gave me something with epinephrine which I am not supposed to have because I am hypoglycemic.

Whatever the cause – having my heart freak out landed my in ICU on a Respirator.
Thank God I was only on the respirator for 12 hours, and in ICU for two days. I was in a special room where they monitored my heart for another
2 days. My Heart never freaked out again. So they are pretty positive it was not a heart problem, just a result of something they did during

All in all, the Robot surgery that was supposed to be an easy overnight stay – put me in the hospital for 18 days.
An IV drip that looked like it was filled with milk for about a week. Then liquids, then chopped food.
I had to be on “real food” and “off antibiotics” for 3 days before I could leave the hospital.
I was so happy to finally get out of that place.

I am back to my normal routine and normal life.
The Doctors said it will take a few more months for my Intesine and Bladder to completely heal.
There were no lymph nodes involved, so after that, we will look at doing a full body PET scan, and keep a close watch.

Since the endometrial cancer was only 10% myometrial invasion – and they usually don’t recommend chemo or radiation until you are close to 50% – it looks
like they pretty much consider this cancer “case closed”, but will keep a watch on it.

The Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma is kind of weird. They are happy there are no lymph nodes involved. But there are only 700 cases of sarcomas in the USA
per year – so this is all very strange. I was told by my oncologist that sarcomas usually don’t come back – but if it does come back, it comes back
with a vengeance. And there is no test to tell us which kind of sarcoma it was. All we can do is take PET scans and watch it.

So I hope you had a better summer than I did.
Since most of my summer was spent either in the hospital or recuperating at home, I am looking forward to a fun Fall and Winter.
I am hoping to have a really fun Summer of 2012 to make up for the summer of 2011 that I missed.

And I really want to write and post again on www.donnagrayson.com, if I can find the time.

***An FYI for the reader: Of course, all of the above is my own personal experience – and it is not intended as medical advice as I am not a doctor.
The typical disclaimer applies: consult your doctor… and if necessary get a second opinion.

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January 1, 2011

Lavender Bath Gift Set

Renewal Spa Relaxing Lavender Bath and Body Set Gift Basket . Three piece skin reviving loofah set (sisal back scrubber, mesh body sponge and body pouf), fragrant potpourri, luxurious lavender scented body lotion, cleansing bath gel, bubble bath, French milled lavender soap, soothing bath salts, lavender body butter, bath beads and a relaxing aromatherapy candle.

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December 21, 2010

Sephora Makeup Brush Set

SEPHORA COLLECTION Perfect Ten Brush Set (50 Value)

A 10-piece Sephora Professional Brush set for face, eyes, and lips.What it does:This stellar collection of makeup artist-tested brushes features superb durability and craftsmanship. Though made to last, these brushes are just as beautiful as they are functional. Each frosted pink handled brush is handcrafted from top-quality natural and synthetic fibers.What else you need to know:Set includes:- Fan Brush- Blush Brush- Powder Brush- Concealer Brush- Contour Brush- Eyeshadow Brush- Small Eyeshadow Brush- Dual-Sided Brow Brush and Lash Comb

December 16, 2010

Parlux 3800 Eco Friendly Ceramic & Ionic Dryer – Green

The new Parlux 3800 Eco Friendly Ionic & Ceramic Edition Dryer. An energy efficient dryer built from recyclable materials that makes a low-environmental impact. Fitted with a high-performance, long life K-Lamination motor that delivers more than 2000 hours of drying time.

Parlux 3800 Eco Friendly Ceramic & Ionic Dryer is powerful, lightweight and compact. It offers 2100 Watts of power and 75 cubic meters of air / hour so it dries hair quickly, meaning less heat damage and less energy consumed. It weighs just over 1.25 pounds. It has 4 temperatures and 2 speeds and instant cold button. # Fitted with a nickel-chromium heating element and safety thermostat. Made in Italy. 1 year warranty. Come with 2 nozzles that are made from indeformable material. One for blow waves, the other for drying.

December 15, 2010

Kinerase Pro Therapy Skin Indulgences Kit

Kinerase Pro Therapy Skin Indulgences Kit.
Indulge in luxury of skin care science with Kinerase Pro+ Therapy Skin Indulgences Kit
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Includes: Kinerase Pro+ Therapy Ultra Rich Day Repair (0.07 oz – 5 treatments), Kinerase Pro+ Therapy Advanced Radiance Facial Peel (0.05 fl oz each – 5 treatments), Kinerase Pro+ Therapy Ultra Rich Night Repair (1.7 oz),Kinerase Pro+ Therapy Ultra Rich Eye Repair (0.5 oz), Kinerase Pro+ Therapy Ultra Hydrating Repair Mask (1.7 oz). A $366 Value!

December 4, 2010

Jane Fonda Workout DVD

Jane Fonda’s Complete Personal Trainer Series is a classic exercise DVD to watch. The exercises are fun and easy to follow. Plenty of instruction and direction are given as you do the routines.

I remember doing these types of aerobics way back when. And I wanted to watch something that I enjoyed. I hate the loud “bootcamp” style routines in so many of todays programs. Jane Fonda’s workouts are perfect for any person over 40 – they sure do bring back the memories.

I actually rented this on Netflix and did it for a few weeks. You might want to see if your local video store or public library carries it. It is a classic exercise video worth checking out.