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"!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's NOT about the shoes.... or the skis.... or the bike...

Have you read Lance Armstrong's book "It's Not About the Bike?"  --- I read it back in my bike racing days (Cat 4-5 in Killington in the 90's).  If you haven't you should.  It is really inspirational his journey with testicular cancer and all of his challenges that he overcame throughout that time in his life.  I didn't know then what I know now - about what it is like to have such a challenge in your life, although everyone can relate to his story and feel it.  The lesson I have learned now going through this "cancer" is that it isn't about what shoes you have on your feet (although my Nikes rock!  and my new Inov-8 trail racing flats are amazing!), and it isn't about the skis (I really really want some World Cup Slalom Rossi's --- I know I will ski better!) and it isn't about the bike (my mountain bike is just wrecked - in the garage and barely makes it to the bottom of the driveway).  It is about your heart, your will, your desire and your determination to be what you want to be and accomplish all that you want to in your heart.

My favorite Lance Quotes below:   (these have been a great sense of strength for me)  

"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. That surrender, even the smallest act of giving up, stays with me. So when I feel like quitting, I ask myself, which would I rather live with?"
— Lance Armstrong (It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life)

"What ever your 100% looks like, give it."
— Lance Armstrong

"This is my body, and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it; Study it; Tweak it; Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I am on my bike busting my ass six hours a day; What are YOU on?"
— Lance Armstrong

"What is stronger, fear or hope?"
— Lance Armstrong (It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life)

"Knowledge is power, community is strength and positive attitude is everything"
— Lance Armstrong

"For most of my life I had operated under a simple schematic of winning and losing, but cancer was teaching me a tolerance for ambiguities."
— Lance Armstrong (It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life)

With that said --- I am training for the Chicago marathon - 53 days and counting....  Being diagnosed in the middle of setting this goal to run Chicago made me think maybe I shouldn't run.  My athletic history is on the sidebar here --- and this will be my 27th marathon and my 4th in less than 2 years....  When I was diagnosed, I was in the best shape of my entire life, running faster than ever in my masters.  Completely on a runner's HIGH.  My mileage for those  2 weeks was really low, with the sick feeling of that lump in my stomach and the stress of not knowing what was wrong... but then when we talked to Dr. Barnes & Dr. Mullally --- I had so much hope, that it is truly possible to "finish".  Maybe not my best marathon (at this point  a 3:05 is pretty hard to beat!) - but I could still do it.  Just listen to your body & rest when you need to.  Yesterday knocked me over --- flat on my bad, achy, chills, headaches, fever, back pain, dehydration, blurry vision --- it had me in tears.  I haven't felt that bad -----ever.  At least that I can remember.   What to do? Rehydration, tylenol, rest & meditation and a lot of prayer (thanks everyone)....

And now - I feel better today.
Ran this morning.
Feeling on the "upswing"

Last week we hosted these 2 - 21 year old coaches from England for Schuyler's Challenger Soccer Camp in Amherst.  I was nervous and Steve wasn't sure we should take on the extra burden, especially since it fell within "treatment week" - but I pushed and thought it would be a good distraction, great for Schuyler and some good energy to have at the house.  We showed up on that Sunday to pick up a coach, ended up hosting 2 coaches (Matt & Dom) and had an amazing week.  I had a great routine going to get their breakfast & lunch stuff out in the morning - and then dinners each night.  It was so fun for Schuyler!  We got out on the boat twice and included Coach Marian from Brazil.  What a great week.  :)  Here is a link to some of my fave tubing shots for a "hair flip" post on my other blog.  And they got used to me "bald" with my hat on and switching back & forth to my blonde "look" too.  :)  I wore my bathing cap on the boat - boasting my Olympic Medalist look.  :)  Here are some "ME" shots from our adventures on the boat (the ski photos Samantha took 2 weeks ago)....


Sasha said...

You have got to be one the most amazing people that I know. I have to be honest..if I were in your shoes (not those really cool Nike's you were talking about)..I don't know if I would be as optimisitc and positive as you. I am sure you have your moments but you are truly amazing Nancy....

Here is a quote I found and thought I would share with you~

"There are two big forces at work, external and internal. We have very little control over external forces such as tornados, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness and pain. What really matters is internal force. How do I respond to those disasters? Over that I have complete control."

~Leo Buscaglia~

Love Letters To China said...

I agree with Sasha... you are an inspiration. I read Lance A. book and loved it. It proves that if you have a positive outlook and give it your all, you can overcome just about anything. You look amazing in these photos... swim cap and all!

Jane said...

Awesome ski pics, Nancy! Glad you had a good run today!!