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"!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I can fly!

Crazy as it sounds, I had a dream last night that I could fly! Must be all those sci fi shows we watch, i think i am a Hero! I could power a couch and Steve and Schuyler were with me until we ran out of gas and something broke. I flew away to get gas and Steve worked to fix the couch. I woke up to tell him my dream and started to laugh historically, which quickly turned to tears.

Today is my first day of treatment and I am honestly scared.
Scared of the unknown, because I have always been so tough, you know the type, put on my game face and no crying.... As Arnold says "crying is for babies..."

It's going to be ok, I keep saying and telling myself. If anyone can kick cancer's ass ... I can, right? I love all the notes of strength, confidence and prayer from all my friends and family. I have never faced a serious illness before and here I go. But if I can race Ironman triathlons, run a marathon in 3:05:59, race up mountains for fun and win.... I can beat this and hopefully still running and training the whole time. Just watch.

But it is still the unknown and after reading the descriptions of all the drugs they are pumping into my system and the potential side effects, I realize that running up Mt Washington, even that crazy Sea to Summit where I kayaked 12 and biked 90 and then ran 8 miles up in the clouds to the peak of Mount Washington, is going to be easier than this 4 month "trek". I am an athlete, I am strong, set my goals and achieve them. But I listen to my body and I am not too proud to walk the steepest parts (flashback to Pack Monadnock) because I can still win, finish and feel the sense of accomplishment.

What to wear? I asked Steve this morning what I should wear like I always do ... Working in my home office I don't get out much... Ha ha! So I decided that every treatment I am going to wear a race tech tshirt that I am proud of to show how strong I am. I will try to come back and link to the race from my other blog so you can all read about that experience too, it may even motivate you! Today's tshirt is from the 2007 USAT Age Group National Championship -USA Triathlon . Steve and traveled to Oregon and combined some wine tasting in the Willamette Valley. I remember. The shirt is also a beautiful red color so I stand out and one added benefit is it covers my sunburn from yesterday- don't want to send the wrong message :)

The nurses are great - the way they rally when one patient next to me had a reaction, teamwork at it's best. Everyone is different, how they react to the drugs and the specific "cocktail" they fix, special for you. I feel special to be blessed with the most amazing caregiver, my husband Steve (I need to introduce him that way because the med personnel are not making any assumptions). I feel special and cared for by my friend and colleagues, sending cards, flowers (thank you EI team!) and yes - the ultimate gift for a girl like me.... An Itunes gift card! (thanks Naomi -you rock!).

Sitting here armed for the day with my Ipad, Itouch, Ipod nano and my work PC (if I am feeling motivated). :). Yes we have stock in Apple... A happy Mac family!

Still feeling normal - still have my long hair - it's all about the attitude... Right?


Laurie said...

Good luck today and this week, Nancy! I believe in you and know you, Steve and the kids will be better for it.


joy.ginsburg said...

Nancy -- I have not stopped thinking about you. I am trying my best to send positive energy your way -- but from the message I just read, you don't even need it. BTW, it is OKAY to cry. I would worry if you weren't crying at all.

Please know that there are TONS of people out here wishing you well and you inspire all of us. I'll keep checking back for updates...

Paulette said...

So glad that you are able to start treatment asap. I know bad stuff to kill the bad stuff. So glad you are surrounded by a great team of docs and nurses! Love the t-shirt deal! What a great way to focus the mind. You are not lacking anything in this fight baby! Love ya Paulette

Nancy E said...

Thanks for leaving comments! And the bad stuff is killing the bad stuff indeed... so weird to have drugs in my body -- totally wired and cleaning house non-stop, folding laundry etc.... very wired last night and again this morning. Trying a run for the first time today.

Love you guys!