7 Sep 2022 – Time Machine Update

Turned out that blogging about cancer treatment in real time was too much for my capacity. I did post things on Facebook and Instagram and am copying them here onto my digital scrapbook.

Looks like my biomachine will be getting some serious work. Apparently even Stage 0 breast cancer warrants major treatment.

News from my oncology appointment today is that I’m getting surgery and then radiation (plus MRI, molli seed placement, and other stuff I’m probably forgetting). So lots and lots of appointments and inconvenience, but that they expect a “full cure” after all is said and done.

I know full well that cancer doctors don’t use the term “expected cure” lightly. I’m insanely fortunate to be in the luxurious position of being more worried about the inconvenience of my cancer treatment than the actual cancer.

TLDR: Don’t skip your mammogram!

Posted in Biomechanic, Breast Cancer | Tagged | Comments Off on 7 Sep 2022 – Time Machine Update

15 Aug 2022 – Time Machine Update

Turned out that blogging about cancer treatment in real time was too much for my capacity. I did post things on Facebook and Instagram and am copying them here onto my digital scrapbook.

15 August 2022:

Even a trained biomechanic needs to go into the shop sometimes. Today felt very much like I was a car at the auto mechanics. The hydraulic table goes up and down with a hole for the part they are working on to poke through so the experts had access to work on my left breast from underneath.

I loved seeing such a practical ergonomic best practice from one industry (automotive) applied in the world of healthcare. My favourite work as an engineer is all about this kind of design cross-pollination!

Results in a week or so. Feeling slightly paranoid about accidentally bleeding a bit on my subway home… Why on today of all days did I deviate from my usual black?!?

Princess Margaret makes it easy to find things.
Posted in Biomechanic, Breast Cancer, Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off on 15 Aug 2022 – Time Machine Update

12 Sept 2022 – Stage 0

So it’s been a year and some more.

To summarize: Pandemic, turned 50, work, family, Covid vaccines, getting actual Covid, vacations where we actually went places*, and generally returning to “real life” or whatever that is going to look like now.

* stayed in Canada, still haven’t ventured beyond the border since a work trip to Italy in 2019.

So now that life is getting back to normal, let’s circle back to that turning 50 part, because where I live that particular birthday milestone comes with a few medical screening tests including a mammogram… cue ominous music.

Yep, my routine screening mammogram quickly led to a second higher resolution mammogram, that led to a biopsy, that has now led to an official diagnosis of Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ Nuclear Grade 2, also known as Breast Cancer (Stage 0). This whole rollercoaster started July 23, biopsy was 3 weeks later and pathology diagnosis was 2 days later. I learned I had cancer on Aug 17, left for vacation 3 days later, met with my oncologist August 6 and am now looking at surgery and radiation treatment between now an end of the year.

The bad news: I have breast cancer.

The good news: They caught it super early and I have access to universal healthcare. Stage 0 means it hasn’t spread or even had time to make an official tumour. Prognosis is excellent, but treatment is still going to suck ass.

I celebrated turning 50 with a circus type flexibility photo shoot. The sketchy one is leftie there.

Posted in Biomechanic, Breast Cancer, Life | Tagged | Comments Off on 12 Sept 2022 – Stage 0

13 March 2021

Good hair day plus still warm from flexibility class equalled this silliness. Still can’t do a back-walkover yet, but am hopeful it is in reach for my 50th birthday next year.

Posted in Cirque, Life, Training, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 13 March 2021

04 January 2021

It took a lot of activation energy to convince myself to do back-bending today. So glad I did because looking at the video I took makes it very clear that consistent work is starting to pay off!

Not gonna lie, I’m pretty excited to see the difference.

Posted in Biomechanic, Cirque, Life, Tidbits, Training | Comments Off on 04 January 2021

2 January 2021

Biomechanic Report:

Like our family menu planning, I’m realizing that I do much better on the fitness front when I make a weekly plan rather than just doing whatever I feel like that day. Here’s what this past week looked like.

  • Monday: backbends
  • Tuesday: handstand drills
  • Wednesday: legs
  • Thursday: core
  • Friday: handstand drills
  • Saturday: flexibility (zoom class)
  • Sunday: conditioning (zoom class)

Saturday mornings are usually a good time to take inventory of how my body is feeling. I can lay in bed without the alarm and check in with what is aching. It seems to be a funny fact of aging that I’m almost always aching somewhere. Either good aching from a workout, or bad aching from not moving. This morning it was the muscles between my scapula radiating up to my neck that had the most to say. Probably the result of changing my handstand drills this week to increase their difficulty. I rollered them out yesterday, but more stretching will be needed. I’m hoping it is a sign of my shoulders and upper back opening up accessing new underused muscles. The good news is that I didn’t wake up with my low back aching which it had been earlier in the week. I added some glute extension strengthening drills on Wednesday and they seems to be doing the trick.

Saturday (today) is flexibility class with Diana Gonzalez zooming in from Italy. I’ve been taking her weekend classes since late November and really enjoy having something structured on the weekend. Her flexibility classes definitely get me to push harder in the active stretches that I normally do on my own. Happy to have stuck with all the workouts this week, but it was still a mostly holiday week so work wasn’t as demanding. Leg day workout is still the hardest, but it is becoming less difficult than it was in November and happily my knees are doing well with it. For the circus skills I’m interested in doing, my legs to just be steady state strong so there are no plans to up the intensity level. Instead I want to start adding in formal slackline drills to improve the stabilizer muscles and my overall balance. So far I’ve just been futzing around on the slackline whenever I feel like it, but not doing anything with a plan. (yep, there’s that word again)

Posted in Biomechanic, Cirque, Training | Comments Off on 2 January 2021

1 January 2021

Like most people across the world, we welcomed the New Year from home last night. It sucked to not to be with our friends in Collingwood eating, playing crokinole, bed at 10:30p (they are as wonderfully lame about this one as Simon and I am) and welcoming the New Year with a walk in their backyard apple orchard. Instead we zoomed with them and celebrated with seafood paella, sparkling wine, and an episode of Dr. Who (the kid is watching for the first time). 

My own new year has started with handstand practice and signing up for a flexibility program so that I can have a formal plan for working on backbends in a safe way. With less my 49th birthday quickly approaching and the milestone 50th right behind, I’m ramping up my personal biomechanic project. It’s an idea that has been slowly developing over the years that I’ve been circus training. I have a degree in biomechanical engineering and have worked with manufacturing equipment for my entire career so it’s not surprising that I regularly think think of my own self as a biomachine. The project itself is based on the idea of approaching my body/mind/self as one would a vintage car and documenting how I’m fixing it up and trying to keep it in running shape. My body is aging and this has and will continue to affect what it can and cannot do. This will happen regardless of whether I like it or not. So rather than fight against the tide I’m choosing to pay closer attention to the process and try to enjoy working with what I have.

Posted in Biomechanic, Cirque, Life, Meal Plans, Training, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on 1 January 2021

28 December 2020

Catching up with December. Christmas prep often becomes a part-time job leading up to the holiday. With no social activities allowed I wanted to make sure the kiddo still felt like it was a special time. I think we succeeded, and I’m now happily into the sloth filled interstitial time between Christmas and New Year. Been filling my days with circus workouts, cured meat, cheese, books, books and tv time. As you can clearly see, I don’t have any room in my schedule for more than a photo dump.

And here is our plan for the last week of the year! My partner’s handwriting isn’t the most legible.

  • Sunday: leftover takeout
  • Monday: chorizo, carrot slaw and cheese grits
  • Tuesday: sweet and sour chicken, noodles and greens
  • Wednesday: skirt steak and salad
  • New Years Eve: seafood paella
  • Friday: leftover paella
  • Saturday: fondue
  • Sunday: takeout
Posted in Life, Meal Plans, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 28 December 2020

22 November 2020

I can’t put my finger on any single reason why, but last week was tough. Crossed wires, misunderstandings, general grumpiness and self-flagellation felt like the running theme. I’m trying to find a positive attitude, but the onset of winter combined with rising covid rates in Ontario and around the world make that a challenge some days.

Happily the weekend has helped reset the personal mental processing unit. Simon and I spent Saturday fixing a much procrastinated hallway lighting issue at the house that has very literally brightened things up. Add in a few hours cleaning along with a potential longer term project opportunity to get me thinking about the future and winter things aren’t feeling as bleak.

With the exception of swapping Tuesday and Thursday meals because I didn’t get gnocchi until later, last week went almost completely to plan. Wednesdays chicken/squash/grits combo made enough to have it again Friday so the kohlrabi and carrot slaw has now moved into tonight’s Sunday taco plan.

Here’s the plan for upcoming week.

  • Sunday: tacos! steak, kohlrabi/carrot/cilantro slaw, with tortillas
  • Monday: porchetta, kale and roast potatoes
  • Tuesday: porchetta part 2, mac&cheese and kale
  • Wednesday: coconut miso salmon arugula curry over rice
  • Thursday/Friday: daikon fries, bok choy and fire chicken
  • Saturday: ramen takeout?
Posted in Life, Meal Plans, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 22 November 2020

15 November 2020

Mid-november means winter is clearly coming so we spent yesterday raking leaves and attempting to plug some of the drafts in our 100+ year old house. Despite it being a beautiful sunny day, we took the dogs for a walk right after dinner and there were already stars out – a clear sign that fixing the dead front hall light fixture can’t wait much longer. I’m trying not to panic about Christmas, getting the tires changed on the car, end of year work stuff and all the other things that always start looming in the back of my head around this time whether I like it our not. Blargh is all I have in answer to that.

Let’s look at how the meal plan worked out: Monday moved to Wednesday. Tuesday moved to Monday. Wednesday became Tuesday. The roast moose actually turned into a stew so combined with the clam chowder there was a lot of soup happening overall which is reasonable for autumn. This week’s eggplant turned out to be teeny tiny, plus I forgot to buy tofu, and then I spotted a package of butter chicken sauce in the pantry so Friday merged with Saturday to become butter chicken curry with eggplant and kale. Friday actually became takeout burgers (Tuckshop Food Kitchen) paired with oven fries which was generally hailed by the family as the best idea ever. 

Yep. That’s exactly why we write the plan in chalk. 

I made the cornbread in a cast iron skillet and it turned out thin with extra crispy edges. I will never make cornbread any other way again! This is the recipe I used but left the adobo sauce since the kid can’t handle that kind of spice. I also learned that cornbread works with either cornmeal or masa harina. Useful information since I was on the verge of running out of cornmeal.

This week’s vegetable delivery is typical of what we will likely be heading into winter. Finding creative uses for root vegetables and members of the cabbage family is critical if we want to eat local through Canadian winter.

  • Sunday/Monday: cod au gratin with green beans and roast beets
  • Tuesday: gnocchi with brussels sprouts and bacon
  • Wednesday: flat chicken with squash and cheesy grits
  • Thursday: kale, sausage pasta
  • Friday: chicken part 2 with kohlrabi and carrot slaw
  • Saturday: date night – take out – maybe try oysters again now that we have two shucking knives AND a fancy support board thanks to Oyster Boy!
Posted in Life, Meal Plans, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 15 November 2020