Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eighty Percent

Okay, the last time I wrote was just after my trip to the ER a couple weeks ago. There are a variety of reasons I experienced multiple aura and speech issues and intense pain with the migraine that hung out with me for about 36 hours, from what I can tell. First of all, it was 8 days after I'd begun my new chemotherapy. Second, it was 8 days after I'd stopped with the drug, Femara, that was taking the remaining estrogen out of my body, so I was beginning to have some slight hormonal issues again. Third, I've been eating very little sugar for most of the last few months, working on reducing my anxiety and some unexplained itchiness on my lower legs (it seems to be working), and the weekend before the ER experience we'd been to a wedding in Bellingham which, of course, involved lots of sweets, some alcohol, multiple events mostly with strangers, a lot of time in the car, and a night in a hotel with dogs—none of which are terribly relaxing things, although the wedding was beautiful and the dogs comported themselves reasonably well. I would say that the Rodeway Inn, with its use of quirky spelling to draw you in, is slightly less nice than the La Quinta (which draws you in with the hint of foreign Country Estate) where we've stayed before, but it was perfectly adequate and no one batted an eye at two 80-pound Labs pulling us joyously through the lobby. They love staying in hotels. And fourth, I'd spent the previous week working my ass off in the yard and around the house—six or more hours every day lifting and weedwhacking and mowing and bending and taking long dog walks and having a pretty intense jump lesson at the end of it all. Any number of these things could have thrown my alignment off so that C1—the first neck vertebra—decided to search for a better life and began a migration east, thus setting in motion the searing pain. I kept thinking to myself throughout the week: "Well, I feel okay today, so I may as well get as much done as I possibly can."
Well. I did get a lot done. But it took me all the following week to recover from my labors and the excruciating subsequent discomfort.
Several years ago, my mother told me of a tradition from, oh, somewhere in China, or maybe just somewhere in Asia (Calin wrote with typical American cultural sensitivity), where the secret to maintaining a healthy weight was to "eat until 80% full." This makes a lot of sense, because your body has the ability to take in food much faster than it can process it, and by the time you're feeling 100% full, you've got more than you actually need—and your body hasn't had a chance to tell you that. And so, eat to 80% full.
I realized last week that the same advice could—and at least in the case of the Mathewsons, from what I can tell, SHOULD—be applied to work. Eat until 80% full, work until 80% tired.
Ian is very good at working until 80% tired, then taking off to lie on the couch and read something interesting about the world. I am very good at eating until 80% full and thus maintaining a relatively stable size/weight over time. Our new goal is to share our complementary skills with each other, and each have a better life for the experience.
All that being said, our meeting with Dr Specht went very well yesterday. There were no scans to report on aside from my last MRI which was stable(=good); the meeting was mostly to see how I was tolerating the Xeloda. Aside from my melodramatic couple of days, it's been pretty much as expected: slight sensitivity in palms of hands and soles of feet (why is that?), a slight awareness of the drug starting its work about 5 minutes after I take it, mild nausea and anxiety about 1½ hours after, slight fatigue but nothing anyone else would notice. We're not really going to talk about adding Cytoxan at this time—I wanted to get through a full cycle of Xeloda without hitting the emergency room—and this may be all I need at the moment anyway.

1 comment:

Ian said...

It appears that the 80% thing is attributed to the long-lived Okinawans: But sometimes that other 20% (or 30% or 40%) is so tasty.