Sterling Winery, Napa Valley

Sterling Winery, Napa Valley

– I’ll update more on our California trip when I’m not out here enjoying it, but we loved Napa yesterday. Neither of us drank too much (#becausecancer) but we loved the views and enjoyed a little wine and cheese.

– I am almost done with my speech for my sister’s wedding. I have something down finally, but it doesn’t quite have enough meaning yet. A says it’s pretty good right now, but needs some more work to be great. This is big news because the first three drafts got only an “OK” rating.

– I was worried about the fact that we didn’t plan tons of activities in advance, but A is much happier this way because I’m stressing about getting from one place to the next. We are definitely relaxed. I wish this week could continue forever!

Health journey and 3 pro-tips from around the Internet

My life has been non-stop insane since I graduated college.  Law school at Duke during a long-distance relationship with A made for three years of intense academics and little time for self-care.  After I graduated, I immediately moved to Nebraska and moved in with A.  I spent the summer studying for the Colorado bar exam and learning how to live with a boy.  At the end of the summer, I found a job.  Around the same time that I learned I passed the bar exam, A proposed.  Three weeks later, we learned he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  We quickly went down to the courthouse and got civilly married.  We spent the next year doing the eight rounds of intensive inpatient chemo and traveling for second opinions.  I got admitted to the Nebraska Bar Association.  Then, A decided to take a new job in Texas.  I signed up for the Texas Bar Exam and I started applying to jobs.  We had our wedding.  About an hour into our honeymoon, I was offered a job in Texas and given three weeks to quit my job and move.  We moved.  I started a new job.  We started treatment at MD Anderson, which actually consisted of a bunch more inpatient treatment.  Then I started studying for the Texas bar exam while taking care of A and working full-time.  I took the bar exam in February…and then…wait really?  No crisis?

A is still in treatment, but I finally had a chance to really start achieving my own goals.  As a type-one diabetic, my non-career goals are mostly fitness and health related.  I read the book Born to Run, which inspired me to find joy in working out and then I started running.  Slowly at first.  But using various apps on my phone, I really started to build myself up.  Today, my run mapped out at four miles.  I run in intervals, so I didn’t run 4 miles straight.  I had a total of four minutes walking in the midst of it all.  In addition to running, I’ve also begun to supplement my work-out routine with hot yoga and spin classes.  I started out in horrible shape and have been the type of person who has always thought that my ability to run consistently really maxed out at about a mile or a mile and a half.  The changes came just from getting myself over my fear of trying new things.  “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”

None of my accomplishments shortcut my interest in discovering that I could be lazier and eat more sweets, though.  Accordingly, here are some of my favorite little bites of recent health news:

1. Chocolate has some serious health benefits

A few months ago, my boss brought some mini-milk chocolate hershey bars into chambers and set them out for us.  I learned at a conference this past weekend that dark chocolate is good for you if you limit it to this tiny amount.  Of course, these are milk chocolate, but you know.  I was all over that logic, joyously indulging in the mini-milk chocolate hersheys all week.  I knew it wasn’t exactly the same, but hey.  My love of chocolate and indulgent tendencies, therefore, made me a prime target demographic for today’s health headline about the benefits of chocolate.  Apparently the flavanols in cocoa powder have all kinds of potential health benefits including aiding in digestion and lowering cholesterol.  The sad news at the end of the article is that cocoa powder get processed too much to be beneficial in something like a chocolate bar.  But, I’m excited to do some research to see whether or not you might still have some of the benefits in recipes for chocolate desserts that use cocoa powder.  Yes, I know that the negatives of all the other ingredients in a lot of these desserts mean the dessert will probably have a net negative health effect, so I’m not going to go crazy.  But…chocolate and Tory Burch flats are a girl’s best friend.

2. “No pain, no gain” is only true to a certain extent

Okay, I’m not in any danger of overexerting myself to the point where I can’t tell when my muscles are about to just collapse, but I thought this article provided a very interesting description of studies attempting to discern what your muscles are trying to tell you when experience fatigue.

3.  Let’s soak of the sun

For all you treadmill runners out there, I recently read that around 3/4 of Americans are deficient in vitamin d.  In addition to this information, it seems that new studies are coming out all the time linking vitamin d deficiency to some of the top American killers, including heart disease.  I’m the biggest fan of the “sunscreen song,” which I think gives some of the best advice out there, and this vitamin d deficiency is NOT an excuse to skip the sunscreen.  Trust me, you don’t want to get cancer.  If you don’t care about yourself, wear sunscreen for your loved ones.

XOXO,

J

Universe

Universe

Today, as I was writing a massive check to MD Anderson–I mean half of my monthly salary massive–it was nice to remember how small that check really is in the context of the universe. Sometimes it’s nice to remember how small my problems are in the context of the universe, even if, at times, they seem to be my entire universe.

Lanes

A has been in remission for almost a year-and-a-half now.  Many of our days are normal, although many are not.  He’s still in treatment, so there are frequent doctor’s appointments but theoretically he has only one more big in-patient hospital stay.  His hips hurt him badly everyday.  Sometimes it’s a struggle for him to walk across the apartment.  We can’t run together anymore and we had to quit our bowling team, but this is a side-effect.  Some days we aren’t dealing with “The Disease.”  But, it’s still there in the back of my head.  I keep thinking about other couples I know of who were in remission about a year-and-a-half before it came back.  Or two years.  Or five years.  Some nights get away from me.  I feel guilty because I think that if I had stronger mental discipline, I wouldn’t be wandering down this mental road.  Yet, like a bowl of ice cream or extra cup of coffee, sometimes I engage in it anyway.

Tonight is one of those nights.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve viewed this comic, on and off again, over the months.  Sometimes the visualization of what you’re feeling can make you feel understood.  At the same time, it’s overwhelming as well.