Healthy Camping

When we returned home from camping Saturday night, I cut up a watermelon, made a big salad, put out a bowl of cherries, and cooked a Pesto Pizza (Trader Joe’s) for the fam.

our campsite on Fire Island

One thing I don’t like about camping is the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables. Maybe someone more clever or more prepared than I would’ve come up with a way to pack watermelons or grapefruits. But the fresh fruit I packed, bananas, got mushy and brown before we even hit the campsite.

Any time I travel, I try to eat healthy, yet making hot dogs and S’Mores just seems easier and more fun at the campfire. I’ve got to work on this.

The other downside in terms of my health in the summer is that I don’t mean to get a tan and with my history of Basal Cell Carcinoma, I definitely shouldn’t. But I do.

I apply sunscreen early in the day and then fail to reapply. I’m just too lazy or uninterested. At the beach, inertia sets in.

Yesterday I bought a long-sleeved SPF waterproof shirt. I hope that helps. It was expensive ($50), but then, so is skin cancer.

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My stupid feet

Yesterday I was back at the podiatrist’s. I really have to take care of my Plantar Fasciitis. The bottoms of my feet hurt all the time, but especially when I wake up in the morning and after I do any sports.

Tennis season is coming up. I want to keep running. I want to be an active person, beyond doing my beautiful pilates and yoga and occasional swimming.

My podiatrist told me I MUST do the assigned stretches for my feet every day. She gave me a (cortisone?) shot in one foot and told me to come back for two more on that foot and then we’ll do three shots on the other foot. The shot hurt. I don’t want shots.

I know as we get older, like an old car, we start to break down. But I need to stay fit so that I stay sane and can destress. I don’t want to break down. I want to keep running smoothly. With Chris’s illness, I have to and want to stay healthy for the kids (and for myself).

Last night I couldn’t sleep. My forehead is still recovering from the basal cell carcinoma surgery two weeks ago. And now I’m concerned about my feet. These are small, even insignificant problems, certainly not life-threatening.

But even ordinary health problems can be irritating, slow me down. I’d like to write more about this, but I have to wake the kids and do my stupid physical therapy for my stupid feet.

Healthy Eating

Went to Dr. Etta Frankel yesterday for a check up — bored her with my recent medical sagas of basal cell carcinoma and plantar fisciitis.

Dr. Frankel is normally even-tempered, but she was mad. “I see you tan and freckled. That is not good.” When we sat down in her office, she wrote out some internet sites to buy SPF clothing and handed me the prescription.

She asked about my husband’s health. “It’s difficult,” I said. “Living with someone with Parkinson’s.”

When I pointed out the slight uptick in my weight, she looked back at her records. “Yes, you were 133 in 2003.”

A bit more than a pound a year. Again, “Not good.” So she handed me a diet sheet mimeographed from the early 1970s. On it, there’s a long list of what not to eat and drink, like pasta and wine.

So when I came home, after the doctor’s appointment, then work, to surly children and a difficult spouse, I poured myself a big glass of wine and made pasta for dinner. It was Chris’s idea.

I’m not at all a food blogger. But this was good.

Start water to boil for pasta.

  1. Sauté white onions, sliced thin, in olive oil
  2. Add cherry tomatoes cut in thirds
  3. Add black olives
  4. Slice fresh basil into little ribbons. Set that aside with a bunch of little mozzarella balls.
  5. Cook the spaghetti
  6. Then add the set-aside mozzarella and basil and any old thing you find — pine nuts, broccoli, chunks of salami — into the olive oil mixture

Toss it together. Great summer dinner. On the side sliced strawberries and grapes. Chris spread sourdough bread with an olive tapenade.

We sat down to eat, all civilized, C. asked, “How was your day, Mom?”

“Good, I went to the doctor and got a good report.” I’ll start the healthy eating tomorrow.

When I mentioned that I might blog about our yummy dinner, Chris said, “Michael Tucker blogs about his meals.”

Name drop alert: Yes, he does. Chris’s friend, Michael, is an awesome actor and writer. Chris is featured in one of Tucker’s blog posts where Chris  is fondly referred to as one of the Fat Boys. The Fat Boys better go see Dr. Frankel for some dietary suggestions. Here’s Tucker’s blog. (Incidentally he’s married to the fabulous actress Jill Eikenberry, who brought a lot of media attention and awareness to breast cancer when no one else was talking about it. We refer to Tucker and Eikenberry as the Tuckenberries.)

Pass the Hatchet

I arrived around noon to a trendy and full waiting room. A few people my age and a couple of older women with bandages on their faces sat staring into space. In the trendiest of neighborhoods, West Broadway and Spring in SoHo, my dermatological surgeon, Dr. Dacko slices, snips and sews.

I went into an exam room. My chest area, around where you wear a long necklace, was numbed. We waited. Then the carcinoma was cut out while we chatted about the ubiquitous nature of cell phones (because I had to charge my phone in the surgeon’s office). Dr. Dacko is young, pretty, friendly. So is the RN Elizabeth.

Dr. Dacko said “Now, about the recovery, you’re not allowed to chop down any trees.”

“That’s funny,” I said, “Because that’s what my family does on Christmas. We chop down our own tree. This year, I’ll pass the hatchet.” (ha ha, we all laughed!)

Then Elizabeth told me as she bandaged the big gaping hole, “Okay, you can go out for lunch now. Come back in an hour and we’ll see if we have to cut more. If not, we’ll stitch you up.”

I felt confused. Here I was in the middle of surgery and I’m told to go out to lunch?!! True, the office is an awesome neighborhood. Okay. Well, I did have good idea — Christmas shop and manicure. I hopped up, but then, yes, felt a little whoozy. So I sat down again for a few minutes until the dizziness passed.

Then I was out on the sidewalk with the vendors, the hip Europeans, and the people who lunch. I got to the Paul Frank Store and the Sur La Table store and even visited a 2nd floor manicure salon east of Broadway for some frosty blue polish.

Back at Dr. Dacko’s office, I was told they got it all and they stitched me up (although they biopsied another area too.) The feeling of getting stitches in your chest was weird — like someone pulling on the lapels of your jacket, only I wasn’t wearing a jacket.

I have to report that I felt a bit sorry for myself last night. I didn’t feel that the kids and Chris coddled me enough at all. While it’s true in the middle of my surgery, I was shopping and pampering myself in SoHo, I still felt someone should’ve felt my forehead and said, “Poor baby. Don’t worry. You’re going to be okay.”

I considered posting a picture of my chest and the stitches on this blog, but it looks pretty yucky! It will heal.

My basal cell

Since this blog, Running Aground, is not just about running, but about health, fitness, food, let me share my latest not-so-great health news. I have basal cell carcinoma.

Last week, I went for my yearly dermatological exam. I had noticed a nice brown age spot right on my eyelid where I smear a nice brown eye shadow. That, of course, is nothing. This — on my chest — appeared nothing to me. But the Physician Assistant froze off 3 little things and biopsied 2. One of which was this little pink dot on my chest.

Ms. Choe, the PA, said, as she sliced it off, “I think this is basal cell.” And lo and behold, it is. Doctors and physicians assistants, they are so dang smart. They know what they’re doing.

I do feel I brought this on myself. I love being outdoors. I often bypass the sunscreen. Too busy. After I practically have to tackle my kids to get them to wear it, I’m exhausted from the effort and I ignore myself. (Yes, that’s right. I’ve found a way to blame my children for my skin cancer.) But it’s kind of like a smoker and lung cancer. I can’t pretend I didn’t know this was possible. I have known, pretty much my whole life, I should be more careful.

I am fair with blonde hair, blue eyes. It’s common. My mom had this. I am a perfect candidate. I think 3 out of 10 white people get this. It’s totally manageable and curable. But Mom says it’s a trauma to the system, not invasive, but traumatic. She  says I should lay low for a few days after the surgery tomorrow. Sure, right, that’ll happen. (I have parties and theater to attend!)

But I am going to start wearing more (some) sunscreen, because now I realize that I’m not immortal after all. I’m frickin’ ageing and I’m not all that happy about it.