Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad

Today is my Dad's birthday. He would have been 76 today.
I am a your typical Daddy's girl. Most girls played with Barbie Dolls. I was a tomboy, big surprise if you know me. I played with Tonka Trucks and watched football with my Dad. He is a big part of who I am today. He passed away on June 12, 2003, after a brief battle with diabetes. He also had a couple of heart attacks and a stroke. I remember one of the last times I saw him he was overweight, still smoking (even after his first heart attack he still picked up the cigarettes) and probably not checking his blood sugar. He was eating a HUGE piece of chocolate cake and when I asked him about eating that he said he wanted to live life the way he wanted to. In some ways I agree, but living the way he wanted actually shortened his life, in my opinion.
Most people don't like to go to the doctor, and especially in these times, with no health insurance that is still true, but what are the two most important things in your life? Your health and your family. I can't tell you how much you take your health for granted until you have a disease like cancer invade your body. Cancer is an overproduction of cells, I always knew I was an over achiever, but seriously do I have to be that much of one??!!
Now that I am in remission I don't take my health for granted at all. I try to eat right, although in the last week I haven't been as good as I should be. I should not be eating at fast food restaurants, but it is a quick and cheap way to get your meal, especially if you are hungry. I should be at the gym more, but I just started this cool new job and I have been busy helping get a studio set up and getting audio clips ready, in addition to all the other stuff I do in my life. I REALLY should be back on the Metagenics First Line Therapy plan. Writing down the food that I eat and really really watching what I eat (but those Buffalo Wild Wing deliveries to the station are so hard to resist.) and going to the gym at least 3 times a week should be what I am doing, but I am not. I realize that it is difficult for everyone to do the important things like these, eat right, exercise and live healthy, but if you don't what are your options? You could be like my Dad, who only got to see his first grandchild one time.
I think about my Dad almost every day. He is the most important man in my life, even before Doug, my fiance. Family, that is what is important. Family doesn't have to be someone you are related to, it can be a close friend or co workers. I have my family, my brother and his wife, their son, and my mom, they are my relatives, but I do have an extended family. People that I work with, or have worked with, or just have become a really good friend that I consider family.
Now I picture my life without any single one of those people, and I go back to the question: What are the 2 most important things in your life, your health, and if you tell me you can't afford to go to the doctor, I am going to tell you that you can't afford not to. I have great insurance, and I have substantial medical bills, and I would rather be broke than dead. And your family, now imagine you are Jimmy Stewart in one of my favorite movies of all time "It's A Wonderful Life" what would their life be like if you were gone, or if you didn't exist at all. Pretty sad if you ask me.
So on my Dad's birthday I would like to thank him, for making me the person I am today. I started a new job on a new internet radio station, and I am pretty sure that he had a hand in steering me towards that. I am hoping that he is looking down upon me and smiling, seeing what kind of person his daughter has become, and I hope he is proud.
Happy Birthday Dad.
Mel is the producer of The Vic McCarty show on wmktthetalkstation.com. Listen to her live Monday thru Friday 10am-Noon.
Mel also produces The Maria Shaw Show on empoweradio.com Monday thru Friday 12noon-3pm

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Waking up Tired

I feel like I have been tired since Nov 12, 2007.

That was my first day of chemo, it seems like a lifetime ago. Since then I have been diagnosed with Hashimotos thryroiditis which is defined by wikipedia as "an autoimmune disease where the body's own T-cells attack the cells of the thyroid." That was last summer, in June or July, so I missed all of last summer's activities, in addition to not being able to play soccer, because of the port, I couldn't ride my bike, because I was too tired and was worried that I would be just stuck where I biked to and wouldn't be able to get back home, so my bike sat, sadly on my patio deck, unused on nice cool summer nights when a ride on the bike path would be just the thing to clear my head.

Now I am still tired. I just had a blood test because I am still freaking tired, its not the same kind of tired. I know its not from the thyroid, because that is a different kind of tired. I find it fascinating that different things can make you tired in different ways. Fascinated, but wish it was something that I would be reading about on the web or happening to someone else, but not to me, actually scratch that I wouldn't want anything that happened to me to happen to someone else.

So I got a blood test. I think I have given so much blood for tests since I have been diagnosed I could have saved quite a few lives if it was donated to the Red Cross (of course I wouldn't donate blood since I have been diagnosed with cancer, let me make that quite clear) besides the fact that I hate needles. Let me change that I really hate needles, I will give you an example, I was talking to my doctor about something and she was doing something across the room with some syringes, loading them with meds, who knows, there were four or six of them on a tray and I really have no idea what my doc said but all I saw were the needles. Did I mention they were all the way across the room? I had to leave the office quickly, I almost started hyperventilating. So the point of that? I guess I hate needles.

Back to the blood test. Got the results today. I need more vitamin D. They said because Ilive in Northern Michigan I don't get enough sunlight or drink enough milk or eat enough broccoli to get vitamin d, yes I need cruciferous veggies, one of the things I need to eat to combat cancer, but I would have to eat a lot of broccoli for that to happen. So lets see we will add that to the list of pills I take, right now the pill count is at 15, more or less, depending upon side effects like neuropathy or anxiety. So I guess the pill count will be up to 16. Once that kicks in I hope I wont be waking up tired.

Mel is the producer of The Vic McCarty Show. Listen to me Monday through Friday 10am to noon on wmktthetalkstation.com.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The wind in my hair

A year ago I still had very little hair. July of 2008 is when my hair finally started to grow in. It started growing in gray and slowly started turning black, my natural hair color. As the weather is getting warmer I have been thinking about the little things that people may take for granted. Like the wind in your hair. I have the only SUV in northern Michigan without 4 wheel drive (I bought it when I lived in California, who needs 4 wheel drive when you are stuck in rush hour traffic on the 101?) but I do have my sunroof. I would take a car with a sunroof over a car with 4 wheel drive any day of the week. Why is that you ask? The wind in my hair.
When you get diagnosed with a disease like cancer, it makes you think about things you take for granted, certain things like, well hair. I am not a vain person, if you know me you know I am a jeans and tshirt kind of gal, but when you have nice shoulder length hair for most of your life and then for 8 months you don't have it, it really makes you think.
I think one of the hardest part of my cancer journey, like most women, was losing my hair. Only a select few people besides my medical team saw me without my bandanna or hat. Everytime you look in the mirror you are reminded you are sick. It makes you appreciate little things, like a kind word from a coworker, a hug from a loved one, walking in fresh snow right after a snowstorm, and the wind in your hair.
What made me think of this you ask? It is spring now in Michigan and I opened my sunroof for the first time and it reminded me of last August, when it was almost the end of summer. It was a gorgeous day out and something happened and I was surprised, I didn't even realize how much I missed it. You guessed it, my sunroof was open and I felt the wind in my hair for the first time in months. The best part about it was it felt like I was feeling the wind in my hair for the first time ever. I think of that and it makes me smile. Yes, something that was a result of cancer made me smile. I was getting better, I was done with chemo and I felt the wind in my hair.
Listen to me on the Vic McCarty Show from 10am-Noon Eastern Standard Time Monday-Friday on wmktthetalkstation.com