Feeling Like Myself

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Well, I’m 6 weeks post-op and I’m starting to feel pretty normal again, which makes me very happy. But it’s this outfit that’s really making me feel like myself. I love this kind of simple outfit. Denim on the bottom, a simple tee on top, and a third item over both.

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It’s getting mild enough finally to not need a jacket every time I go out, so this very thin, lightweight longline cardi from Torrid is perfect.

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And I have been searching for SO long for a nice white tee and finally got this one from J. Jill. It’s a linen cotton blend so will be very nice in the warmer weather. I *do* need a new nude bra, though (mwerp!).

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And I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Superga sneakers! When you’re heavy, bending over for long enough to tie shoelaces can be SO uncomfortable, not to mention cutting off your oxygen (!!!) that I’ve been wanting a laceless sneaker. I tried some slip-ons and they just didn’t fit right on my high-instep foot. These velcro ones are so easy! Plus, the Superga is a nice solid sneaker with a thicker sole and that helps a little with my painful heel – AND they come up high enough that I can wear my inserts with them. With most of my shoes, the insert raises my foot up so high in the shoe that when I walk, the shoe just slips right off my heel! So these were a real win. AND they were on sale for $24.99!!!

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On this day we went to a nearby park that is very fancy with waterfalls and railings and whatnot. It’s a popular wedding photo venue with local photographers.

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After shooting these shots on this walkway, we went up the steps back to the main path. Well, My Friend Who Shall Remain Nameless did…I TRIED to go up the steps…but tripped on the top step and did one of those slow motion falls…first to my knees on the concrete…then down to my elbows (never letting the camera touch the ground, win!), then because I was at the top of a little hill and couldn’t get my balance, I rolled down onto my side…and started rolling down the hill…”ow-ing” and laughing hysterically the entire time. Thankfully a small shrub stopped my descent and I did NOT roll into the pond with the geese. But it WOULD have made A Great Shot!

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So, yeah, while sometimes I like to be a little “dressier” (ie, not in denim!), other than leggings, this is my favorite kind of outfit. Easy peasy, comfy, with endless combinations.

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In other news, it looks I’ll be starting radiation treatments as early as next week, so I’ve been enjoying my little “feeling like myself” break I had between surgery recovery and beginning treatment.

What kind of outfit makes *you* “feel like yourself”?

Week in Review: Week 61

Was a pretty full and busy week – had several doctory appointments, went to dinner with friends two nights, had a little photo shoot, work is getting busier…

But we started the week with Easter at the Ex’es. I went to meet the new horse, Harley (spotted horse on the right)…and Amaretto (“Retto”) on the left.

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And┬ásaid hello to Beau (horse) and Rosie and the goat whose name is NOT Cinnamon but that’s the only name I can ever THINK of for her. Wait, Ginger? Is it Ginger? It might be Ginger. Anyway, this is Rosie in the pic.

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Caleb got a little goody bag to take home after dinner ­čÖé ┬áDid you notice he has the same color and markings as Rosie??

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Monday’s outfit of the day. Or is that what I wore to Easter dinner? I forget. Wow.

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Had a meeting with a social worker at Sloan-Kettering to see what kind of helpful services and programs they have. But I jumped the gun a bit as you can’t really apply to anything til you’re actually in treatment and have accrued $300 in co-pays. Which I have, just not with THEM. But I got applications to fill out so I’m all ready when the time comes. Everytime I go there’s something new blooming at the entrance.

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Wednesday’s outfit of the day. A second season dress from Alice & You and a sleeveless knit duster from CityChic. Both items via Gwynnie Bee. Maybe it’s time to say bye-bye to Hello Kitty. Goodbye Kitty?

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Had a follow-up visit to the blood doctor. They found a blood clot when I was in the hospital…it partially divided and became several blood clots in my lungs as well. So I’ve been on blood thinners and had a clot filter inserted prior to surgery. Which they now want to remove. THROUGH MY NECK. Gah. That just sounds horrible. I feel the medical profession as a whole could endeavor to make things a LITTLE more fun. I don’t know how, but they’re the ones making the big bucks, let THEM figure it out.

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My cousin sent me this picture of my mother as a baby. I think it’s hysterical! She was born in 1922.

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A package arrived from Old Navy. I’d been so excited for these items but….MEH. I’ve seen the blue floral off-the-shoulder (OTS) dress on a couple bloggers and was just in love with it…until I put it on. I knew it was a questionable choice for me because of the elastic waist. And sure enough it was just not right and I felt very fidgetty in it, constantly fussing with the waist. The OTS part was also not cooperative and I don’t even OWN a strapless bra (oh my gosh the dog just burped in his sleep and it sounded like a child said “hi”) so what was I even thinking?? It was a size 4x. I’m still addicted to striped tops and am looking for a new favorite. This was not it. Too big in the chest and shoulders, too snug at the hips. Sigh. Story of my ┬álife. Size 4x. And I’m looking for a couple pairs of slouchy (BUT NOT SLOPPY!!!) soft fabric, like a rayon or linen blend or tencel, ankle length pants for summer. These linen blend 4x pants were just too big. I couldn’t tie them tight enough to keep them from slipping down my hips. The last dress, the mustard yellow dress is just like the light blue Tencel “nightgown” dress I had from last year…but it’s more of a gauzey rayon and a little snugger fit. Size 4x. Pass. Everything is already on its way back to Old Navy and the search continues. I can spend the same $100 on clothes for MONTHS, buying and returning, lather, rinse, repeat.

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And last (lastly?) I paid a visit yesterday to the podiatrist, FINALLY, after suffering with heel pain for almost 8 months.┬áI’ve done the stretching exercises. I’ve rolled my foot over the golf ball and frozen water bottle. I was “off my feet” for as much as I could probably ever be between my time in the hospital and then recovering at home after the surgery. I’ve iced it. I went to physical therapy three times for stretching, massage, laser treatments and electronic stimulation. And it’s been 8 months and the pain is bad and not getting better. He took a digital x-ray which showed a heel spur and inflammation, gave me a cortisone shot (youch) and then wrapped my foot up with this cushiony pad and said to leave it on for three days. It’s already off. Ha. It was SO tight, it was as uncomfortable as the heel pain! I’m going to say the edge is off the heel pain but it’s not entirely gone. I also haven’t walked a lot since. He said it could be 4-5 days before it takes full effect. And I go back Friday to follow-up and get another shot if needed.

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And now it’s the weekend YAY. I have errands and apartment cleaning planned for today…and something FUN planned for tomorrow. And when I say PLANNED I mean, we plan to have FUN, we haven’t actually planned yet what exactly we’re doing. So it’s still a surprise.

What do YOU have planned for the weekend? And have any of you ever had success with ANY sort of treatment for heel pain/spurs?

Week in Review: Week 60

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The week started off with consults at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for a second opinion on my situation and treatment going forward. I’m finally learning that “consult” doesn’t mean sitting in a civilized wood-paneled office, a desk away from a doctor, tissues at hand (like on TV)…but instead “get undressed and put on this gown and the dr will SEE you in a few minutes.” I’ve learned to wear loose-fitting dresses so I can by-pass the gown (how smart am I?) but I haven’t figured out how to avoid the endless stream of EXAMS. Ugh. “Hello, I’m Dr. Smith, nice to meetcha, now skootch down and spread your legs.” Hello to you, too.

Anyway, I was pleased with both the doctors, their treatment plan was pretty different than the first place (though they both had very good explanations for why they’d do things their way), and everything moved along at a good pace. Which is very important to me as I don’t want to be spending my summer waiting in a treatment center. I want to get in, get out, and go see a sunset, thank you very much.

Final decision has not been made yet.

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National Sibling Day was this week. That’s me (the short one in baggy ruffled tights) and my sister (the tall pretty one who is looking very Gidget-esque).

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Tuesday afternoon we headed down to a charter boat marina to do some blog pictures. It felt good to be out in the air and be doing a photo shoot.

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I wanted to show you my cute new EASY TO PUT ON sneakers but the dog wanted in the shot. I think it’s time to unmake the bed-sofa.

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Wednesday morning it was BACK to Sloan for a ct-scan. I drank the kool aid. I failed the test. After all the drinking, waiting, changing, trying to get an IV in me (I have tough veins), etc…they got the first picture then the two ladies came hurrying into the scan room where I was and said, “uh, hun, you still have your bra on!” Damn. I was so distracted by “where do I go next?” as I was changing into THE DREADED GOWN that I totally blanked on taking off my bra. Duh. They’d already gotten the first pic so now I couldn’t move, so I had two women, one on each side of me, trying to remove my bra without me moving. Someone should have taken a picture of THAT.

PS, the contrast dye they injected into me for the scan changed my taste buds for three┬ádays and everything tasted horrible. Someone should figure out how to market that as a weight loss aid. If eating Doritos is no more enjoyable than eating lettuce, well…

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There was a pretty little gifty in my grocery cart.

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Thursday night I worked our Adventureland event. Twice a year we rent out the amusement park and it’s closed to the general public and made available just to families of kids and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. It. Almost. Always. Rains. or at least threatens. But this night was PERFECT and we had a TON of happy people going on rides, playing arcade games and eating cotton candy. This picture was taken as the event prior to ours was just closing out, that’s why it looks so empty.

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I’m a little teapot….

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The next morning I was verrrrry tired and was wishing I could just climb on the tuffet with Caleb and Jane instead of going to work.

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Got my second wind by late afternoon and picked up a friend (this is her backyard, can you even?) to go to the movies. We saw Going in Style┬áwith Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin. Ann Margaret was in it a bit and OHMYGOD she looks UH-MAZING. She’s 76, she looks better than I do. She looks better than MOST people do, ha. The movie was cute.

And now it’s Saturday. I have no plans. Wanna do something??

More Gratitude

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Wow, it was fun doing a shoot again! I’ve had messages from several people saying not to worry about the blog and just focus on feeling better, but the blog is a really good distraction for me right now. I can’t just think about CANCER all the time – and believe me, it’s always trying to take the top position in my brain. I’m guessing the time may come during treatment when I. Just. Can’t. But for now, while I can…I love doing it.

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But I *am* lucky to have people who care enough to tell me to take care of myself. So…I’m feeling a gratitude post coming on!

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I’m SO grateful to all the wonderful people who have been there for me – emotionally, physically, transportationally ­čÖé I generally live a pretty solitary life and I always worried about when I got “old and sick” (not that this is THAT, but…) how I was going to manage on my own…but people haven’t even made me have to figure that out. They’ve just been right there for me every step of the way. And that’s been really nice.

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I’m grateful that I had a pretty quick and easy recovery from surgery. Sure, I had a couple bad days in there, but for the most part I think it went pretty well. A month out and I’m feeling pretty much normal. The doctor initially didn’t want me to go back to work for six weeks! But this is my second week back and it’s all good.

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I’m grateful I found a dress to fit, ha! All my swelling has gone down, 20 pounds worth, gah, and I’m back in my normal clothes. This is a Gwynnie Bee dress, it’s cute, right?? I wanted something a little bright and springy and this definitely fit the bill. I love a dress with a slip layer and an outer layer like this – it keeps everything looking very smooth. It’s sleeveless but down by the water last night it was breezy and chilly so I wore it with this longline cardigan and some new chestnutty-brown flats. I have to see if I can pull out the insole and replace it with an arch support insert because otherwise GAHHHH!!!

I’m SO grateful that spring finally seems to be here! I feel I handle the cold less and less well every year and I’ve been really anxious for some COMFORTABLE (not HOT, but…) weather. And this week has been that – comfortable – and I’m appreciating the heck out of it. I’m grateful to be able to wear dresses with bare legs! Tights are the devil’s work.

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I’m grateful to My Friend Who Shall Remain Nameless for taking these pictures. I’m grateful for so many scenic places on Long Island to shoot!

I’m grateful that I’m remembering to be grateful. That has not always been my strong suit, so…yeah. If nothing else good comes out of all this, at least there’s that.

What I’m Wearing:

Week in Review: Week 59

It is a sunny but still windy and cool day here on Long Island. I have a day filled with running errands, cleaning out my disgusting car, taking the dog (and me) somewhere for a walk and change of scenery, then a quiet evening with a movie and early to bed. The best news this week, I doubt I’ve ever mentioned my ^&%#! insomnia here, but it’s been EVEN worse since the surgery – as though things have shifted around and when I lay down something presses on my bladder and makes the worst ache if I do not wake up immediately to get up and pee. And getting in and out of bed is still enough of a process that it wakes me up even more, UGH. But the GOOD NEWS part is that just two nights ago I was actually able to lay for a little bit on my side again! I’m a side sleeper, but I’ve only been able to be on my back since the surgery 3┬Ż weeks ago, so WHAT a relief to finally have a little bit of normalcy and comfort. In Medical-Land, so many things seem to take so much longer to return to normal than you think they should. So Yay.

I went back to work this week for a full week. My wonderful officemates Tori and Jen had decorated my desk with balloons and banners and there was a little “nest” of goodies on my desk – they are just the sweetest. I’m so fortunate to get to spend my work days with them.

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While I’m not feeling especially energetic, I’m powering through and trying to walk every other day. My baby step regimen is:

Week 1: Walk 5 minutes out and 5 minutes back for a total of 10 minutes

Week 2: Walk 6 minutes out and 6 minutes back for a total of 12 minutes

Week 3: Walk 7 minutes out and 7 minutes back for a total of 14 minutes

You get the picture. Monday will start Week 3. I’m very slowly working up to walks of 20 then 30 minutes. I may back-slide during chemo, I’ll just have to wait and see how I feel then. But at least it’s a schedule that I’m adhering to. And I am walking S-L-O-O-O-W. My heel still hurts and that keeps me slowed down as well. Caleb likes the walks when we’re somewhere he can be offlead and sniff around at his leisure. In his old age he’s gone pretty deaf so I can’t let him offlead when we’re anywhere near anything, like a road or people or other dogs, cuz he just doesn’t hear me calling him. And I think there’s a little senility as he just sort of wanders off and then loses track of where I am. Because it doesn’t seem to occur to him to turn his head to the right or left to look for me. It’s sad to watch someone you love get old.

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A dear friend did this cross-stitch for me, “What Cancer Cannot Do.” That was a lovely surprise to get in the mail this week.

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Caleb: Master of His Domain. He needs a good bath and haircut. But he loves the big tuffet that his Uncle Russell got for him.

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And just to keep this at least a LITTLE fashiony…here is a try-on of an outfit I ordered from Old Navy…that sadly will be going back. Old Navy plus size sizing is so all-over-the-place. Sometimes things are ginormous on me and sometimes they’re way too snug. These are really soft rayon blush cropped pants in a 3x and I couldn’t even zip them up. Part of that could be a little vestigial swelling still left around my abdomen and hips, though they’re feeling pretty normal again. And the top was also snug around the same area, while too loose in the bust. I’m really short on warm weather outfits and the flurry of ordering and returning continues until I hit on a couple wins.

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My niece sent me this book by Sarah Addison Allen – has anyone read it?

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This is a pic my daughter just sent me from while she was here and walked down a bit of beach to see the sunset. It’s just a nice memory of being with her and being OUTSIDE after being cooped up in the hospital for so long.

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So, in other news, I have had both the radiation and chemo consults with my “original” team – the doctors associated with my surgeon’s office. On Monday I have a consult scheduled with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to see what, if anything, they would do differently…and then I have to make the decision of who to go with so we can get this show on the road. It’s hard to make the decision because I can already see that I will not necessarily be comparing apples to apples. So wish me luck!

And Great News – I’m actually doing a photoshoot tomorrow! Yippee. Will feel good to be “blog productive” again. So you can look forward to a springy outfit post later this week.

Thanks for all your comments, emails, and kind words – I really appreciate them.

Weeks in Review: 54-58

Yeah, one of these days I’ll get back on track with regular weekly Week in Reviews. This year continues to just be Crazytown. I can’t believe it is April 1…and yet it is. February and March are dead to me. But let’s get caught up and hope for a better week!

I spent 15 days in the hospital between February & March. This was surreal and not so much fun…

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Except for…gifties and flowers and balloons and visits…

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…and a daughter who snuck in special treats…

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so we could have a little St. Patrick’s Day fun.

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When I was FINALLY released I discovered she (daughter) had gotten me a nice new bed set…what a pleasure to sleep in after the scratchy hospital sheets.

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I had some packages waiting at home for me – things I’d ordered before all this nonsense began. I’d been excited for this cute grey and white striped tee dress from Lane Bryant but it was kind of gigundo and I’ve returned it. Still on the lookout for soft comfy clothes for spring and summer.

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As soon as I was up to a little outing we drove to a nearby beach for a short sunset stroll. I’d missed seeing this.

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Janey has been thoroughly enjoying my surgery recovery time. For many days in a row I was just horizontal on the sofa from morning til night. Having sofa company pleased her no end.

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I had some more unpleasant news from the doctor this past week when they got the pathology report from my surgery. In a nutshell, they did *not* get all the cancer out with the hysterectomy. I have now been diagnosed with Stage 3 Uterine cancer and they’re recommending radiation and then chemotherapy. I’m getting a second opinion but I’m not expecting to hear anything radically different from┬áthe original recommendation. This doesn’t feel like my life. And yet….

Work sent me these flowers that day. And yes, Work Family, I COULD use a drink.

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The doctor cleared me for work and driving so I went and got a haircut. I went to a nutritionist to hear about things to eat and/or avoid during chemo.

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And yesterday I had the nicest day I’ve had in ages…just being NORMAL…a wonderful friend picked me up for a drive to the ocean…and in spite of the wind and rain, it was just so nice to be out of the apartment, not doing anything health related. I really value a day like that.

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So. I go back to work Monday. I think I worked 9 days in February (between snow days, the Maine adventure, winter break and being in the hospital) and like 2 days in March. I’ll have a couple normalish weeks now and then I start my treatments. So I’ll be here when I can. I miss the blog. I miss planning outfit posts. But against my will (ha) other things are pushing their way to the top of the list.

Hope you all have a great week.

PS – I just realized it’s April Fool’s Day. I wish this post was an April Fool’s joke…but it’s not.

xoxo Bettye

You Deserve the Very Best…

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I look at these pictures taken 3 weeks ago and it seems like a lifetime ago. All I see when I look at them is TIRED. A TIRED woman. And I *was* tired. I’d been tired for some time, but always attributed it to my weight or my age or just generally being out of shape. And I pushed through…because that’s what you do. It’s what we all do. We just keep going, pushing ourselves, til we can’t go no mo.

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It was the day after this shoot that I ended up in the Emergency Room and the next day admitted to the hospital. For five days. And then another 10 days the very next week. The cancer diagnosis really surprised me. “I’m just tired.” Now I’m tired from the surgery – a hysterectomy 6 days ago. Still waiting on the pathology from the surgery but I’m counting on it being positive. In the meantime I’m recovering. I’m back at home, my daughter is here helping me. Life doesn’t feel normal again yet, but it will.

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My body doesn’t feel normal yet, either. When I look down, my stomach seems like it shifted lower. Like I used to feel pregnant w a basketball right under my boobs…and now the basketball has dropped. So the biggest part of my stomach is in a new place. And that feels weird. I didn’t expect that. I have to get used to my body again.

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I’ve started walking. BABY baby steps. 5 minutes out then five minutes back. That’s all I can do just yet. But I’ll feel stronger as I heal from the surgery and eventually I’ll be able to walk 10 minutes out and back. And maybe my body will change a little more. Because I’m tired of my body making me feel tired. This isn’t me hating on my body. This is me LOVING on me and my body and wanting both of us to FEEL BETTER. We deserve that, my body and I.

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We deserve the very best.

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What I’m Wearing: