Sunday, 31 July 2011

Getting Squished!

To kick off my long weekend, and really get things started off right I spent my Friday afternoon getting my first Mammogram! (*I know, I know...It is an exciting life I lead*)

So this was definitely a new experience for me, and an interesting one at that. As women I think most of us have heard how horrible these supposedly are, how much it hurts, and just how generally uncomfortable the whole experience is. I admittedly was not waiting with bated breath to get this done. But the doctors needed to ensure that they know exactly where my breast health stands before my surgery - so this was just another step necessary for this process to progress.

Alright, let's talk brass tax here ladies, a Mammogram is definitely awkward! I admit I spent the majority of it trying the stifle uncomfortable giggle-fits. You pretty much walk into a room and stand there topless, while the technician stretches your boob and squeezes in a contraption similar to a vice-grip that then takes a picture of your breast. It is not glamorous, but it is really not so bad either. I would say the whole affair probably took about 10 minutes, and was certainly not as painful as advertised. Considering early detection is one of our best defenses in the fight against breast cancer I want to remind women that this procedure needs to be done annually once you reach the age of 40. And for women who have a known family history of breast cancer it is REALLY important that you explore your options to start having your annual Mammograms done sooner. A few awkward minutes once a year is a 1000 times better than the alternative, so go ahead GET SQUISHED! I promise you'll be glad you did!

Love your favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

My guilty pleasure


My Rccent Haul
 Anyone who knows me, knows I have a serious addiction to fitness magazines. They are definitely a guilty pleasure of my mine. I actively subscribe to Self and Runner's World, but most months I probably also buy at least one or two more, typically Women's Health and Shape. It sounds excessive I know, but I find them extremely motivating!

The lifestyle they promote is definitely one I aspire to achieve, and having a body like their various covergirls wouldn't hurt either. Obviously they focus heavily on exercise, diet, and health - but there is also a strong relationship component that really encourages a well-balanced, happy, successful life. And at the end of this journey, as well as having a rocking bikini body, I also hope to be in a place where I can say I have struck that ellusive balance.

In this month's Women's Health there was an article published trumpeting the effects of healthy lifestyle on cancer prevention, reminding me why finding the right balance has more than just superficial benefits.The American Institute for Cancer Research has released a study that suggests that more than 35% of all cancer cases could be prevented with lifestyle changes. The research advocates a lifestyle that includes; a plant-based diet, attained by filling two-thirds of your plate with fruits, veggies, and whole grains, incorportating 30 minutes of exercise into your daily routine, and maintaining a healthy weight range. The prevention effects of this lifestyle varies depending on the type of cancer with the study suggesting effects within a range of 70% for Endometrical cancer, 38% for Breast, and finally 24% for Kidney. The main message was ringing loud and clear for me though, and the steps that I am taking on this journey are the right ones, and they mean more than feeling good in a bikini. Living smart means living a long, healthy, and rewarding life, and that is exactly what I intend to do.

Love your favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Weekend of Guilt-Free Fun

Celebrating another wedding 3 yrs after our own!
I spent this weekend away, celebrating the new marriage of our good friends Pat and Kristine, and had a FABULOUS time doing it.

The wedding was out of town, and it was just what the doctor ordered. The past few weeks have been stressful, and I have definitely felt overwhelmed with everything that has been going health-wise heaped on top of the usual grind of work, school, and family commitments. A break was necessary. I needed to hit reset, and after a couple days away with great friends I am feeling better able to face the weeks ahead. This weekend was all about fun, so aside from a few trips down the hotel water slide there was NO exercise, lots of food, and (*slightly excessive) amounts of alcohol. It was just all delightful and entirely guilt-free!

Sometimes with everything I know is soon to come it can be hard to stay in the moment and celebrate all the great things that are still happening everyday in the world around me. But the great thing about a wedding is that it is strictly about celebrating love, family, and friends. So this weekend reminded me that although there will be some tough times ahead I still have all of those beautiful things in my life, and it is important to never loose sight of that.

So Congratulations Pat and Kristine, and thanks for a very important reminder!
Love your favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Monday, 11 July 2011

Dear Defective Body

I am annoyed, I am frustrated, and I am feeling some serious self-hatred toward this defective body of mine.

Over the past month I have started the long and arduous process to have a mastectomy/reconstruction surgery as a preventative measure for my recently identified BRCA 1 gene. The only problem being that the treatment of one genetic defect keeps getting stumped by the pre-existing treatment of another.

My body poses a bit of a conundrum for most of the doctors that I meet, and it is beginning to feel like the complications just keep adding up. I've met with the oncologist, the plastic surgeon, and my whole cardio team and I am still no closer to finding a fully workable solution. Because I have to meet with all of these specialists separately neither of them can figure out exactly how one area effects another and the consequences of it all. Given that most pacemaker recipients are typically retirees and the elderly, these same folks aren't exactly lining up for boob jobs - making me a unique little medical marvel. Unfortunately the novelty has worn off for me, and I would love for this to be easier.

The decision to go down this road was not exactly what I would call a "cinch", so I would love this process to start being more straightforward. And more than anything else I would love for my body to be less complicated and less demanding. So this is an open plea to my defective body; stop being such an obstacle, stop being such a struggle, and sort yourself out!

Love your favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

PS I am totally going to beat you into submission tomorrow morning on my run!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Snowball Effect

In many of previous blog posts I have acknowledged my personal struggle with my extreme type-A personality, and my battle to find a balance in all areas of my life. Since I have begun chronicling my experiences it has become even more apparent that I tend to take this all-or-nothing stance on most things, and especially with diet and exercise.

Spynga Studio - Hybrid Spin and Yoga Class
This approach can have negative effects and it easily leads me into temptation, because when I indulge whether it be with munchies at a summer BBQ, with a slice of birthday cake, or with more than a few glasses of vino I tend to throw caution to wind and self-control out the window. The need to be perfect or nothing at all probably ends up causing me to indulge more than I would if I just accepted a more balanced lifestyle. I have realized that while from a rational stand point I understand how unhealthy this approach can be, it is a part of my personality, and it is an energy that can be harnessed to payoff.

This weekend is the perfect example of how my all-or-nothing approach can snowball into a positive end. I woke up early Saturday morning and hit a total body conditioning boot camp class at my latest obsession - Spynga Studios. Spynga is a hybrid spin/yoga/muscle conditioning studio that offers unique hybrid classes that really push your body and helps fight boredom. I got my butt-kicked and the class really pushed me physically, but I felt amazing post-workout.

By making this healthy choice and knowing I spent my Saturday morning working on my body I continued to make healthy choices throughout the rest of day. I came home had a healthy and delicious breakfast which lead to another positive choice for lunch, and others as the day progressed. All of which resulted in a balanced day. Every healthy choice snowballed into another, and I was able to use my type-A perspective to keep me on point. I want to use this energy to generate constructive results by focusing on turning one healthy choice into another, rather than through an extreme absolute attitude. So I am going to embrace the Chinese Proverb that says, "to get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping". Wish me luck!

Love your favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten