Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer 2010 Update: I Am a Shadow of My Former Self, Thanks in Part to Carl's Jr.

July 4th will mark the start of my 4th year of retirement so this is good opportunity to do a 2+ year update.(Last treatment was March of 2008).

No Evidence of Active Cancer (Can I get an Amen?)
While I haven't had any recent scans, blood work done in May does not indicate any warning signs, although my platelet level is about 20% below the normal low range boundary and my level prior to chemo. At 2 and 1/4 years out I feel lucky to have gotten to this point, especially since this will now be my fourth summer that is free of work pressures. (EYHO).

I Am a Shadow of My Former Self, and Happy About It, Too.
I am pleased to say that the biggest health related development for me is not my cancer, but that I have lost 45 pounds since last October and am back to a reasonable 180lbs., give or take a few.(Would like to get to 175 by end of year).

I accomplished this (duh!) by paying attention to how many calories I take in every day. (Have no idea why it took so long for me to "get" this simple point).

Most days I have stayed below my target of 1,500 calories, or 500 below what is likely my daily need. While 500 calories a day doesn't seem like much it does add up to a pound a week, so in 9 months a loss of 40 pounds is possible.

To keep within my calorie target, I eat salads for both lunch and dinner (if I eat any more I am convinced I would start looking like a rabbit). Other low calorie discoveries have been egg whites, pickles, 20g protein bars, and 100 calorie tortillas with 12g fiber:)

A residual benefit is I have donated a lot of XXL AND some old clothes to Salvation Army, so I have some room left in my closets for first time in a long while, and evidence of former weighty self and my taste in 80's fashion no longer exists. 

I Owe it All to Carl's Jr. (Not all of it, but clearly SOME of it).
Surprisingly, the best/cheapest place I have found for quick lunch salads in a pleasant atmosphere has been a Carl's Jr off of I-5 and Boones Ferry road. It has unusual design with floor to ceiling glass walls so it feels light and open even in the winter, and I found it a great place to read newspapers at lunch in a vain hope of keeping them from cluttering my house. This Carl's has good quick service  and a friendly staff even though they must be wondering about the guy who has been coming in for months ordering two side salads with vinaigrette dressing, 5+ days a week. (OK, I have snuck in an occasional burger, but not that often). I am hoping to branch out a bit more for lunch, but suspect Carl's will remain part of my lunch regular routine.

I have kept up a pretty good exercise routine of walking and some light work with weight machines, working out 5 times a week during most weeks. I am not going to be running a marathon again anytime soon, but working out helps burn calories, keep the ticker going, and is a big positive psychological boost. (Except for a heel problem I think I could actually run again and that is really exciting to me, but I will likely put off any work on my heel, including any surgery, until the fall).

I continue to post on the Oregon Housing Blog (more than 1,700 posts in 3 years). This summer I hope to get back the Midwest this summer for a visit with family and friends (visit will include some friends from my old public housing project I haven't seen in 30+ years, so that will be a real treat for me).

I need to do some house renovations before I pay off my mortgage in next couple of years, but I think I can dodge working on those chores until the fall also. 

Thanks for all of your kind thoughts and deeds over the last 2+ years, they meant and continue to mean a lot to me.

I will try to post if and when there are future developments; I know you will understand when I say I am hoping that won't be anytime soon.

Enjoy your summer and July 4th, my peeps!




pajarita said...

Congratulations on your continued health. I know personally how that feels. It was important for me to meet people who had experienced cancer many, many years ago. If it's important to you, know that my travail was 24 years ago! Yea!!! I actually found this blog via your Oregon Housing Blog which I found through Portland Housing Blog which I found through Dr. Housing Bubble. All have been most helpful, but yours has the best links for my information neets. Thanks and G-d bless you!

Ed McNamara said...

Tom -

That's great news.

I want you to know that I really enjoy and appreciate your blog. You put a lot of work into it and you're a good writer. There isn't anything else like it out there.

I also really enjoy the occasional personal touches - the youtube of Alex Chilton and the reference to your days in Viet Nam, the note about Galaragga's perfect game, etc.

Keep up the good work.


cathey said...

So happy to hear your news. And you look healthy and fit - now I know why.