Solo Practice

I am a survivor and survivors are tough to the core. My day consists of mostly dragon boat practice after work. I love the exercise and the social encounters. You meet great people from all walks of life. There is nothing more fun than racing on a nice sunny day. I have to stay fit as a fiddle as a survivor of modern medical science. In between practices, I use an inflatable kayak to improve my upper arm strength. I haven’t had it for long, but it is serving me well. It was low-cost as these inflatables go but is easy to transport and get it in and out of the water. The best inflatable kayaks for under $500 can be purchased online and they include the paddle, a carrying case when it is deflated, and an air pump. I got it for only $325 and the site also offered a discount. Such a deal.

It is a one-person model suitable for my solo needs. You are guaranteed a great time on the water at your favorite lake, river or stream. It is built from rugged and durable materials and the design includes a built-in fabric seat that is super comfortable. I was sold when I read about the reinforced 24-gauge laminated three-layer PVC construction. This means that the kayak is durable and rough water ready if that is what you like. It has multi air chambers (two in the hull and one in the floor) that make for a comfortable ride. I love the bottom fins that are dual directional. They give the craft great stability and control. Some people need the grab handles to be on the large size and the rings that are useful for carrying and connecting to other floats or the dock. I prefer the aluminum oars to plastic as they are easy to use and effective in getting you where you want to go.

You can buy such an inflatable kayak online and they usually ship in 24 hours so you don’t have to wait and be patient. You can dream about your upcoming adventures, however, and how much fun you will have enjoying the water recreation it provides. It is a good alternative to dragon boats and gives me a little variety while I tone up. Some people call it a blow-up kayak which diminishes its cachet. Inflatable as a word is far more gracious. It is too well built to be reduced to the blow-up level. In other words, it is premium quality and a sportsman tool. My kayak is nimble and durable and everything I could want including eye-catching graphics for added safety on a lake or slow-moving river. You will be seen from everywhere thus avoiding any mishaps. Being highly portable is the best feature of them all.

I stow the deflated kayak in my garage where I can find it in a pinch when I am ready to use it or loan it out. I practically have a waiting list of people standing in line.

One of Those Days

To celebrate life and conquering disease, I love dragon boat racing. It invigorates me and allows me to have fun with friends. It is a supremely social event to which I frequently look forward. This blog is going to focus, not on the racing itself, but what happened to my watch. It was a good one that cost a pretty penny, and I am sorry to say that it got damaged in the rain. It was an unpleasant day and I should have taken off the watch, but I thought it was waterproof. Alas, I was wrong. My next watch is going to be a waterproof g shock model so this doesn’t happen again.

These special watches have more bells and whistles than I need, but since they are fairly priced, I will opt for one to make sure it can handle water exposure. I don’t intend to swim or dive with it on, but just want it to withstand some minor splashing and a little rain. I don’t doubt that I will face inclement weather while racing from time to time. Sure, we could all pack it in and go home; but we were out there for a good time and weren’t about to cut it short.

G shock watches are all the rage these days so you have plenty from which to select at all price ranges. I like the Baby-G analog digital with the cool transparent white resin strap. It is like no other and it is just for women. It makes for a bit of a ladylike touch to an otherwise trendy durable watch. It has a round case with markers and logo at the bezel. What really sends it over the top is the rose gold-tone mirror analog-digital dial with hands, markets, positive display subdials, LED backlight, shock resistance and logo. Many of the best g shock watches give world time in 29 zones, have a city code display, daylight savings on/off (very handy for those of us who forget), 5 alarms, hourly time signal, 1/100-second stopwatch, full auto calendar, 12/24 hour formats, countdown timer, and button operation tone on/off. Now we get to the nitty gritty. It has a quartz movement and water resistance to 100 meters.

Now you know what I favor. Get on the Web and see what becomes your passion. There are so many styles as to boggle the mind. Give yourself a treat if water is at all an issue for you when wearing your old watch. Years ago, people didn’t think about it much or they got a sport watch for swimming. However, I prefer the look of the g shock watch for everyday and only use a sport watch for the gym. If I forget to change, it doesn’t matter since I can wear the Baby-G in the showers. To be most careful, I take it off and leave it in the locker. However, sometimes I forget and now I don’t have to regret it.

Celebration Time

We won a great race this past week. It got uncomfortably close for a bit and I did not know if I could go any more. Luckily we have a good team and were able to motivate each other and push ourselves to the limit. If our drummer wasn’t as good as she is, we might have lost. She was able to keep us on the winning pace, and we got the job done with only a couple seconds to spare.

After the race, we made plans to get together that evening at our flag catcher’s house. Her name is Victoria. She just moved into a new house and wants the whole team to come over and celebrate. I haven’t been out in ages and it certainly sounded like a good time. Before cancer, I did this all the time—visited with friends. Maybe we sat around with cups of coffee or a glass of wine, perhaps we’d go out to dinner or to see a movie. Sometimes that seems like a lifetime ago. For so long it was just about surviving the day, or even that moment, and I couldn’t even imagine having the opportunity to do something like this again. It is nice to feel like the old me, to do the things like this.

I may have taken a little bit longer than I should have to decide on an outfit. I chose a black cowl neck tunic, a pair of white leggings, and a pair of gold sandals. I told myself there was no point to saving nice clothes for a special occasion if it meant that it might hang in my closet forever (yes, I know, spoken like a true cancer survivor—nobody is guaranteed tomorrow). With all the wardrobe changes, I ended up getting there later than I had originally planned. The party was already in full swing by the time I got there. I wasn’t the last team member to arrive, but I was pretty close. Also, I realized a little late that I went a little too fancy with my clothing, judging by all the denim and athletic shoes everyone else was wearing. I got some nice compliments, though!

We all got the tour of the house, which is gorgeous. The backyard is especially nice. There was a pergola with seating underneath. Victoria had hung lanterns down from the top of the pergola and it looked beautiful and inviting. I made my way over there and sat with some teammates. We talked about the win and caught each other up on personal stuff. As the sun set, the night got cooler, and Victoria put a small, portable propane heater on the side table next to me to help keep us all warm. It was small enough that it didn’t obstruct my view of anyone and it certainly kept us all toasty warm. Victoria ended up sitting near me so I asked her about it. She told me it runs on little propane canisters, which are cheap to buy and means there are no cords for people to trip over. She also mentioned that she’s even taken it camping before. I probably would have had to leave much sooner if she hadn’t brought it out for us—it added probably another two hours to the party! Now I’m thinking of getting one for my backyard.

It was a really good day that turned into a great night. I am so thankful that these women have come into my life, regardless of the circumstances I met them under.

Taking Care of Yourself

When you are on a cancer-treatment regimen, you need to take care of yourself. You are in control and no one else is going to do it for you. This means being vigilant and staying clear of people who are ill who might compromise your immune system. You can’t always avoid every threat to your being, so it means adopting some tried and true health practices to keep your immune system functioning optimally and that bring peace of mind and inner strength. There is no real substitute for establishing a well-conceived health program for yourself.

First and foremost, it pays to eat nutritious foods when you are a cancer survivor. They say that certain fruits and vegetables with antioxidants help ward off recurrence when eaten in sufficient quantities. Experts and nutritionists talk about blueberries, tomatoes, broccoli, and assorted super foods. They also mention drinking vast quantities of green tea and even water for maximum hydration and proper renal functioning. Lean meat and poultry is fine to satisfy the body’s need for protein, added to a small amount of dairy, fats, and carbs: everything in moderation and nothing in excess except maybe those leafy, green vegetables. It seems that you can’t get enough of them. You can’t go overboard eating fresh salads virtually all of the time.

While a healthy, balanced diet is key (including items from all of the basic food groups), you can also take vitamins and supplements in areas you need the most such as Omega3 fatty acids, Vitamin B, C, D, or E. A doctor’s recommendation is instructive after giving you the traditional battery of blood tests. Some people are also lacking in certain enzymes, so they will be included on your supplement list.

Next comes the role of exercise. You have no doubt read volumes on the subject, but there is a reason that the topic is so prevalent. Exercise is everything, next to diet, when it comes to maintaining one’s good health. It can counteract all the negative things we do to our body such as internalizing stress. There is nothing worse that tension and anxiety to bring on disease. One hour three times a week of some type of light to moderate aerobic workout such as running, brisk walking, swimming, etc. is advised. You would be surprised how miraculous a regular program of exercise can be. If you are not in tip top shape, you soon can be with a little effort.

Diet, vitamins, exercise—it sounds like a reasonable self-help program. But there is one more thing. Consider a whole home air purifier to keep airborne germs and bacteria away. Many healthy people suffer from chronic allergies and even asthma if their air is impure. It depends on where you live, but indoor air can be laden with allergens, pollen, dust, germs, bacteria, mold, odors, and more. The good news is that you can do something about it beyond keeping your windows and doors closed, and vacuuming and dusting incessantly. An air purifier built into your HVAC system will help you breathe easier and sleep well at night. Be sure to add one to your list of health practices.