Friday, 23 September 2011

Welcome and Thanks!

Also...quickly before I leave for my romantic Italian getaway (*insert another blissful sigh here*) - I wanted to take a minute to say THANK YOU and WELCOME to my new readers joining me from a certain blog which shall remain nameless - as it is annonymus and mine is very much not.

I am currently in Rome (I wrote this before I left). I am sans blackberry, laptop, or internet access, but I wanted to thank you all for taking the time to read my tiny blog and follow my mundane little life. It really rocks my socks to hear from you all! And the support from everyone has been outstanding! So Thanks for Being You!

I will update you all soon about my Italian adventures and hopefully I shall returned feeling refreshed and balanced. I am hoping this break will leave me with a renewed spirit, feeling primed and ready to tackle the obstacles ahead.

So stay tuned coming soon (probably starting October 5th) I will be posting my  
3 part Italian Escape Expose
1. Food
2. Fitness
3. Fabulous Sights
GET EXCITED PEOPLE! Its gonna be good! 

RitornerĂ² 5 ottobre! Fino ad allora, grazie per essere stato incredibile!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

(*PS the Italian hopefully translates to - I will return Oct. 5th. Until then thanks for being amazing!*)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

WOOHOO!!

It's 4:30 and this girl is officially on VACATION!!! (did I mention I am excited?!)

This time tomorrow I will be boarding the plan; destination - Rome! WOOHOO! And I will starting my 2 weeks of fun, food, freedom, and excitement!

See you all in 2 weeks! Try not to miss me too much!
Love your favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Monday, 19 September 2011

A Few Housekeeping Items...



Before we head out tomorrow for our big Italian Adventure  certain things must be done. There are always those last minute housekeeping items that nag at you to be completed before you can even dream of relaxing, so tonight has been dedicated to those nit-picky things...

1. Clean Out the Fridge
I threw all of my fresh vegetables and assorted left over ingredients into a delicious and nutritious veggie stirfry. Healthy Meal - Check! Empty Fridge - Check!


2. Prepare the Pup
Warm, Dry, and Ready To Go!
Clark (my amazing pup) is the only thing I have reservations about when it comes to this vacation. We are ditching him for 2 weeks, which as silly as it may seem makes me incredibly sad. (*you'll understand if your a dog-lover. They really are man's best friend!*) And tomorrow night after work we are trucking him down to his puppy-grandparents for his own personal vacation in the country. So naturally he needed a bath and all of his many accessories need to be packed. Bath - Check! Pup Ready -Check!

3. Cancel YMCA Membership (aka ankle rehab)
I am not a gym person, at least not in the traditional sense. In fact I HATE them! I realized this long ago when I got locked into a year-long Extreme Fitness membership after one lofty New Year's Resolution and probably used it approx 14 times. Definitely not worth the $65/month I was shelling out through the monthly pre-planned payments debited to my VISA. Lesson learned! But during my recent ankle injury a pool was required for rehab and strength training, so I got myself a membership to the YMCA. Needless to say; gyms are still not my thing. And the vast quantities of elderly patrons who seems to have no qualms with nudity, also did nothing to sway my opinion. This month long membership was not used very much (especially once my ankle improved) so it needed to be officially cancelled ASAP.

3. Finish Packing and Prepare all last minute things
This means contacts, medicine, PJ's (which I realized this morning I forgot to pack initially), camera, charger, and my newly updated Ipod. My Ipod is a must-have for runs through the Italian country-side, because despite how awe-inspiring the views are sure to be I am one of those people who cannot run without music. Music amps me up, gets me moving, and helps me clear my head. And I love me some sugary-sweet, girly, pop (I know, I know, I know...I wish I could say I listen to something super trendy and hip...but I don't). I think this stems from my being a result of the Spice Girls generation. I just love a good girl-power pop ballad. So the Ipod is charged and ready to rock.

Last Pre-Vaca Run
4. Go for One Last Run 
Check, Check, and Check! In the rain and all!

So that's it that's all people! I am outta here! I am trading the mean cold streets of TO for the picturesque landscape of Tuscany. I will be incommunicado until Oct 5th....but get excited for my 3 part Italian Vaca Expose
*Food
*Fitness
*Fabulous Sights

Amici addio! Mi mancherai!
Love your favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten 




Sunday, 18 September 2011

To Run or Not to Run on Vacation...that is the Question

Ready for Vaca!
So will all this talk of injuries, body image issues, running, and impending surgeries I have completely forgotten to mention the fact that this week I am going on VACATION! Yes, people it is true. I will be leaving you all for a whopping 2 weeks while I travel around the Italian country-side with my husband. (*insert blissful sigh here*) We decided we would take my boobies on one last vacation before they officially get the boot.

I think secretly my husband hopes that if we take a timeout from the stress of our regular life he'll be able to spend more quality time with a slightly less crazy Krysten. And I fully admit to being fairly neurotic over the last few months. I also think there is very strong possibly his plan will be successful. A BREAK IS VERY MUCH NEEDED!

I plan to spend the next two weeks eating amazing food, drinking lots of wine, and absorbing as much Italian culture and history as possible. The question I have been grappling with is whether or not I should plan to run while I am on vacation?

I think with the excess of food and wine I plan to indulge in over the course of our escape - exercise is probably a MUST. I know we will be very active while we are away because along with our feet being our primary mode of transportation we have also planned a couple biking tours, a horseback riding excursion, and several treks up to the top of various towers and basilicas. So I am unsure how motivated I will be wake up early, toss on my sneaks, and run around completely foreign locations all by my lonesome.

Adding to my conundrum is the fact that my husband has convinced me that because we are traveling between cities while we are over there; Backpacking is apparently the way to go. We won't have to worry about lugging any large pieces of luggage down cobblestone streets or checking our bags en route to new locations, but space will be at a premium.  So the space I have for packing said sneakers is less than ideal as well, so I have had to think long and hard about the Running Question...

 The Sneaks got a primo spot in my little Backpack
In the end I have decided - I can't run if I don't pack my shoes, and I didn't feel comfortable completely eliminating that option. Running always work wonders to clear my head and silence all the negative self-talk that so often ends up swirling around in between my ears. And since the ultimate goal of this vacation is to restore a sense of balance, maybe making time for a few short runs is just what the doctor ordered. So there they are! My bright blue sneaks stowed safely in my backpack ready for a invigorating, rejuvenating run through the Tuscan country side.

On that note I leave you all. I will be leaving my blackberry and laptop behind in hopes of leaving this world and my worries behind. So... 

Addio Amici! Ci vediamo in 2 settimane!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

(*PS the Italian translate to - Goodbye Friends! See you in 2 weeks*)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A Rainy Run

Soaked and Happy Post-Run
I had BIG plans this morning after proclaiming my re-commitment to my genetic battle strategy. I made myself a nutritious dinner, packed a good lunch, and set my alarm clock for 5:45 AM to ensure I had time to run and eat a healthy breakfast before work. I jumped out of bed with some serious vigor when my alarm went off, only to be thwarted by a dead battery in my heart rate monitor. UGH!

 Those of you who have read my early posts know that I NEVER run without my heart rate monitor. Running and I have a love hate relationship, and I think for some twisted reason I LOVE running because it hates me. My arrhythmia means my heart rate runs really high and I need to ensure that my heart rate stays below 200 bpm. That may seem like an easy task to you "normal" runners, but for this Darwinian Fail it is easier said than done - especially during long runs and uphill.Needless to say my morning run didn't happen.

Yep 112 is a pretty normal resting rate

 I was determined to my run in today though. I have been itching to lace up my sneakers lately, especially now that my ankle is finally on the mend. So I spent several hours after work trying to find a place that had the right battery for my heart rate monitor. And was still open at 7:00 PM which was when I realized that I had forgotten to rectify the problem earlier in the day. After some frantic Googling and a few panic-stricken phone calls I found a Shoppers Drug Mart that carried it. And at 8:20 PM with a fully functioning heart rate monitor I head out the door into the rain and started my run. SUCCESS!!

That run felt as AMAZING as I hoped it would, and I am sure I was smiling like a goof as I ran past people on Yonge St. I ran 4 km, my second run attempt since my stress fracture. My pace sucked, my ankle is still not 100%, and I am soaked. BUT DAMN IT FEELS GOOD TO BE BACK!

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten   

Reboot has begun!

My Fall Reboot has officially STARTED! And so far so good!

I have felt like I have been living in limbo lately. Just sitting around waiting to hear when my surgery will be scheduled. I am hyper-organized and very type-A so I dislike not being in control and not knowing what is going one. I know I will have to pretty much take 2 months off from everything once my surgery date arrives - that means work, school, exercise, and my social life. So...I would sort of like to know when that is expected to happen. Alas, organizing surgeons (three of them no less) is basically equivalent to herding cats. It feels damn near impossible sometimes. It is especially problematic because I think medical professionals tend to lose sight of the fact that while scheduling the surgery for them is only a few hours on one day, the effects for the patient exist long after that. So in an effort to regain my sanity I am reclaiming the things I am able to control; like my diet and exercise routine. And attempting to relinquish control over the things I cannot; like my impending surgery date.

My Fall Reboot Mind Map

I am visual person. I need to write out my goals and track my progress to keep me accountable. My type-A personality is also the reason I like things to be colour coordinated and well documented. I sat down last night (while cooking a delicious dinner I might add) and wrote out my game plan for my new health and fitness routine. I have also placed a calendar on my fridge to document my daily exercise routine. It feels good to make this commitment and know that I am taking these steps for me. I up for the challenge!


Today I remind myself to "accept the things I cannot change, have the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference". It is a harder lesson than you might originally think...

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Fall Reboot, Restart, Re-do

I wanted to start off by saying a HUGE thank you to all my real-life and blog-o-sphere friends for the amazing feedback you all gave me this past week. The response has been incredible, and something I was really not expecting. I honestly forget that people take the time to read my little blog, so a huge mechanical-heart felt thank you to everyone who took the time to write me!!

Anyone who read my last blog post knows I pretty much spent the last week having a bit of a Pity Party for myself. I was feeling hopelessly hideous and incredibly annoyed with my defective genetics. Needless to say spending my free time taking care of my seemingly useless body was not really on my agenda. I managed to convince myself it was a good idea to go for one very short run, and to toss in a quick strength training session while I was at it. But I pretty much spent the rest of the week filling my tummy with sweets (oreos were my drug of choice) to dull the pain. And indulging in more than my fair share of a little Chardonnay. Not my finest hour!

After I got that out of my system and began to recover from my hangover on Sunday I realized that perhaps this is not the best way to handle things...Perhaps...And I started to rethink life a little bit. I am still feeling uneasy about the aesthetic changes that are soon to take place, and I think this stems largely from the fear of the unknown mixed with some legit concerns. But I have been reminding myself that I am going to such extremes to be HEALTHY. There is no known cure for Breast Cancer or my arrhythmia (Long QT), only treatment options. So until the day arrives where both of my Darwinian Failures can be cured, prevention is a MUST!

This surgery is an extreme measure and making this decision should be the hard part, committing to a healthy lifestyle should be the obvious choice. To truly be healthy I have to commit to making regular exercise and proper diet a priority. It doesn't make sense for me to go through these major changes if I am only half-assing the other areas of my life - which brings me to my Fall Reboot.  After many weeks of inactivity due to my sprained ankle, and my lax attitude about diet last week I am recommitting myself to this journey.
LETS DO THIS PEOPLE!

My New Goals are as follows...
1. Commit to Being Active 5 Days/week
- with my primary exercise plan revolving around my love of Running and Spin Class, with a little Strength Training mixed in there for good measure

2. Run a Half Marathon and a Full Marathon in 2012
- I want to train for a half marathon and a full marathon to help me regain my strength post-operatively
- and to prove to myself that I am in control of my own body and my health, and this seems like just the daunting task I need to challenge myself

3. Commit to Eating a Healthy Well-Balanced Diet
- this will include Real Whole Food (skip the processed stuff),
- focus primarily on fruits and veggies for all their disease battling vitamins and antioxidants
- and sticking to the 80/20 principal (if you are good 80% of the time you can indulge guilt-free the other 20% - its all about a balance friends we're playing for keeps here!)

4. KICK GENETICS ASS!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

It's Been a Bad Body Image Day

I had a moment this morning that has stuck with me all day, and I just can't seem to shake it.

I was up bright and early this morning, and everything was pretty much status-quo. I took the dog for his early morning walk, had my regular jug of coffee, a bowl of cereal, and my usual shower. It was while I was getting dressed this morning and my husband gave me that "Hey, How you doing?"-Look that things changed. Normally you would probably think that this would be a good thing. And as a caveat I would like to say that under all normal circumstances my husband regularly makes me feel like I am the most beautiful creature to ever rock his world, bless his heart. But this morning all I could think was that in a couple months this will no longer be what my body looks likes. And what if once everything is said and done we NEVER have another moment like this again, because I am just horrible, disfigured mess?! I had visions of my garish looking scars, my lack of nipples, and the look of my foreign implants - and felt hopelessly hideous.

I admit a positive body image is already a struggle, and has been ever since the diagnosis of my original Darwinian Failure. When I look in the mirror I see a body that has let me down and my eyes are still immediately drawn to my already plentiful Genetic Battle Wounds. A thick pink scar marks the left side of my chest and the implantation site of my ICD. If angled the right way you can see the outline of the metal box that is my ICD protruding from my chest. I have the faint remnants of stretch marks on my hips left behind from my most severe allergic reactions to the beta-blockers I was prescribed during my early treatment stages. And I regularly feel compelled to cover up my "Fat Arm" which is perpetually swollen from a blood clot that formed around one of my pacemaker wires after one my surgeries. The thought of adding more scars is depressing.  And the idea of effectively changing the shape my entire body is a troubling notion.

 I know from a health perspective that proceeding with this surgery is 100% the right choice, but from a body image perspective this option is less than ideal. Health obviously trumps beauty every time. But I am 26, slightly vain, and today I wish I didn't have to choose. It was easier to make light of my soon-to-be Franken-titty status when it felt more like a distant possibility rather than an impending reality. As my surgery date creeps closer I am beginning to realize that my biggest challenge won't be the surgery itself. It will be my ability to accept the aesthetic changes to my body and maintain a positive body image throughout this process.

*Sigh...*
Wish me luck and send me positive body vibes as I begin this next challenge.
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Cupcakes Round #2

Prepping all my Cupcake Supplies

Happy Long Weekend Everyone! Hope it is going fabulously so far. I spent today indulging in one of my favourite hobbies - Baking! I have attempted another recipe from my favourite cupcakes only cookbook "Hello Cupcakes!" http://www.hellocupcakebook.com/.  I am going to a surprise 40th Birthday Party later today, and as always I volunteered to bring dessert.

I picked the Sunflowers for today, because with the days getting shorter, the mornings starting to feeling crisp, and the fact that its the Labor Day long weekend - means Fall is just around the corner. Sunflowers always remind me of the end of summer, a new start, and positivity. So I thought they would be appropriate!

The Cupcake
My Inspiration









I just made basic chocolate cupcakes, but I spiced it up by replacing the vegetable oil with coconut oil to give it a hint of coconutty-flavor. I made green icing for the tops and used Oreo Cookies to form the middle of the flower. I also made yellow icing to create the petals. The yellow icing goes into a ziplock bag with one of the corners reinforced with scotch tape. You cut a triangle out of the corner, and this cut will help you form the points on the end of the petals. You just need to drab a blob of icing around the edge, pull, and Voila! You have the sunflower! I also used a bit of green licorice to make leaves and finish off the look. Its easy-peasy and pretty fun! Check them out and Enjoy!

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten


Final Product!