My journey - battling lymphoma

Recently I celebrated my 46th birthday. I love celebrating birthdays! Then I participated as a co-captain for our local "Quabog" Relay For Life and the Pack 57 Rocks! Cub Scout Team. This was the time frame that I had discovered an uneasiness in my stomach and growth in my spleen and stomach. After weeks of monitoring, my husband Steve took me to the doctor who felt the lumps and ordered a CT scan. The CT scan showed a massive area, my spleen enlarged to twice its size and an additional growth lower in my stomach. Next was the localized CT guided biopsy and subsequent PET scan. The biopsy showed positive for lymphoma and most likely Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma.

This is my online journal sharing my experience through battling this cancer that has abruptly entered my life for no apparent reason. The story is documented here if you want to start from the beginning, you can check the archives on the side bar.

As a top competitive master athlete this year winning my age group at the Marine Corps Marathon and placing 3rd in the New England Trail Running Championship I have been truly excited with my results of late and am a truly driven athlete. Driven by goals.... my goal right now.... to beat this "thing"!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cancer Ain't no Kryptonite!

"Clear your mind of what was and will be, see only the task that is."
 Zedd - from the Legend of the Seeker

Sharing the news with everyone has been quite the experience for me ---- always the healthy one, always the one top in health and not wanting to share any kind of sickness, thinking I was giving in to it and it would take me over.  So I try to be well all the time.  :)  When I started sharing - I would get comments on how crazy this is because I am the "healthiest person they know" --- it was like I was talking about someone else.  A phase of complete denial, and it lasted for quite some time.  I laughed with Judy, saying how I would be able to wear the purple shirt!  Steve thought it wasn't so nice how I would spring it on people, friends that are close to me, but I think I did that because I really didn't believe it was truly me that had cancer.

But it is me.
I have cancer.
But I am still strong.
I can still run.
I am still me.

 After treatment and getting through that acceptance that this is going to be a "trek" to treat and get out of my system - I realize that I can still be "normal".  I really don't know how each day is going to go -- some days I feel better than others and late in the afternoon is always tough.  I get tired easy.  I don't feel motivated to do anything extra (so NOT me) -- and well my mind is just all over the place and hard to focus.

SO this post is dedicated to being me, still strong, as the title says, from my friend Gregg who emailed me earlier in the journey -- "Cancer Ain't No Kryptonite" and you are still strong.  You will beat it big time.  There are so many emails that have been inspiring to me, with words of strength about me and for me ---- I am truly blessed with this O SO incredible support system that spans the country!  :)

Sharing a couple of my flower photos -- my photography on my other blog has become quite an addition / obsession / distraction and really gives me strength and joy.  Hope you like the photos.

Here are some notes from friends that I have found incredibly motivating & inspiring.....

From Gregg:
Hang in there Nancy Supergirl. I have absolutely no question in my mind that even cancer will not even the playing field for all of the other runners who compete against you. I think this time cancer has picked on the wrong person - it doesn't have a chance against you.
I'm thinking about you!
Gregg (NHO)

From Cara Turano (Boston Determination Foursome)
Hope is the best thing to have AND I promise that if you run Chicago, I will run or run/walk every step of the way with you, holding your darn hand for every photograph possible! It would be my honor to run that marathon with you and in honor of you and in support of you.

I cannot wait to hear from you and of course you will be the cancer patient out running marathon....I think that means we can even slow down!! I am totally in for being your running partner - can we wear matching outfits??

From Ann McNamara, an ACS colleague in Illinois sent a nice note and has connected me to another amazing athlete, Kristin McQueen, who has cancer and has been running for ACS Determination since 2002, raised almost 100K and her goal this year for the 10/10/10 date is $10K. :)  Her story is great on her personal page --- please read it - you too will be inspired by her!

My friend Jana also sent a message to me this week and included a link to her friend Jax who has been going through her own struggle with breast cancer.  Jana and Jax are avid rock climbers, and both incredible athletes.  Her story is a really great story and I have just begun to read!  So great to hear of others going through cancer and staying fit and strong - as much as the body will allow.

There are so many that are "Running with Cancer" -- my dear friend Shelley S. from Tacoma sent me a book this week with that title.  Can't wait to read it.

Got some great cards that always pick me up and make me smile! -- one from Anthony, volunteer leader from Starbucks, a note from Elaine, volunteer leader from Delta.  Cards came from Kyla, Serena (my sister in law) and Steve's work all signed a great card and sent a sweet gift too!

Here is the poem from Serena's hand made card (she is a crafter and AMAZING!)

A New Day Soon Will Dawn

If life seems at its lowest ebb
because a day has gone wrong. 
Let not your heart be troubled
For a new day soon will dawn. 

And we can never be quite sure 
Just what it has in store
Since each one is so different 
Thank the one just gone before

As it penetrates the darkness
With its soft and tranquil beams
It calms even the most restless soul
ANd brings new hopes and dreams

So when a day has been troubled
And the night is dark and long, 
Life up your fallen spirits
For a new day soon will dawn.

Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, power and strength.  It is so incredible to have so many people thinking of me and hoping me healthy!  :)

Please leave a note if you stopped by -- I love to read your comments too!


Jessica said...

Go Nancy!

I'm counting on skiing with you this winter - you should get the fancy new purple POC helmet!

Joyce Pemberton said...

Hey Nancy...I was thinking...It meant SO much to me when you dedicated a mile to Bob in the marathon...I'm going to dedicate my hot air balloon ride over Napa to you. I know it's not like a marathon...hardly any effort involved...but I'm thinking that when I'm up in the air and the world is silently sliding away, I will pray for that kind of peace and rest for you. Don't hesitate to give yourself the gift of rest. There will be a very special prayer said for you that day (Monday morning 7:00 am CA time)

Love Letters To China said...

Thank you so much for commenting on my blog. I clicked on your profile to find your blog to comment.

Reading your story hits close to home for me. My brother was recently diagnosed with Stage II Hotchkins Lymphoma. He's starting his third round of chemo this week. I was also diagnosed with Stage I Cervical Cancer in 2004 (very lucky to be cancer free now for 6 yrs). It's amazing how such a horrible disease can bring total strangers together.

My thoughts and prayers are with you. I'm so happy to read that you have caught this dreadful disease early and will come out of it a winner!