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"!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

In the 2009 season Steve & I took a trip with Dr Marc Read and his wife Eileen and stayed with Harry in Jackson Hole.  It was great because we got to see and spend some time with Suzy Kneeland and her brother Drew and friends.  I truly love that area, the mountains and wildlife are amazing.  I remember the morning right after breakfast watching a mother moose walk right through the front lawn.  The snow was glorious, we took a day trip to Grand Targhee with the crew and got the full affect of enjoying the view of the Grand Tetons.  There is an easy trail down from the top of the high speed quad leading you to these trails respectfully named the Good  - the Bad - and the Ugly.  The trails have meaning to me as I love to ski the steep and gnarly stuff whenever I can.  I remember when I first visited Targhee and having my photo by the Ugly sign. It was a VERY tough trail to ski for me back then... :)  But this time I skied it with strength and ease....  and with my sweetheart who has coached me to be to strive and be the best I can be.

All great memories, with my sweetie and our great friends we meet where ever we go.  So now, that I am "skiing" the steep stuff -- below is my current interpretation of what I am going through...  

Photo below:  Schuyler - J5 race at Willard Mountain 3/2010

So... getting on to the real meaning of my post --- today was a GOOD day!  We went to the doctor for the check up after getting the PET scan yesterday to hear the great news that there is only minimal evidence of cancer in my body.  The spleen is back to normal size, blood count is down below 11 (which isn't so good - but ok)  --- but this is such great news!  The notes from the doctor interpreting the scan was that I am showing TREMENDOUS response to chemotherapy and making great progress.  I am strong.  I am running.  My training is still strong and Chicago is 24 days away!  Laura is making our costumes ---- Wonder Woman will be wearing a red lycra running singlet with WW monogram & a 12 inch circle skirt and a little red cape!  BatGirl will be in all black singlet & skirt with monogram and ears with the cape (of course).  We have our tickets, hotel and can't wait to see Judy & the Fearless Foursome from Boston!  Chicago Here We Come!


As of last week, my eyes are all swollen, feels like conjunctivitis with swollen eyelids and sty in each eye.  It isn't conjunctivitis (just a reaction).  They hurt and water up to the point where I can't focus (the computer HURTS! Which is a BAD thing!).  Then this week I broke out in hives all over my body.  Benedryl and more steroids is the help on the way --- but in the meantime I am not a happy camper.  And exhausted (which may be some of the cause here too).  In addition my fingers are feeling that tingling feeling mentioned as a side effect (it hasn't effected anything except perhaps my typing.  :))  The plan is to get more sleep.  


OK - yesterday was a bad day - so bad I started to get ugly (and no I don't have my period).  I headed to the hospital to get my PET scan and just really didn't start in a great mood.  It was 2 days in a row that we missed the bus and Schuyler honestly hasn't been easy to get to bed or get out of bed and it is all just getting to me.  My patience on everything has been wearing thin.  Lots going on at work and pressure has been building --- at the same time I have only been running 2-3 miles a day this week and  it hasn't actually been enough to keep me sane.  Longer is better, believe it!  The tech came out and walked me to the room (left Steve behind -she said there wasn't enough room, although the last time he was allowed in for the first part of the testing).  Then she gave me a hard time for using my iPad and wanted me to stay "quiet" so there wouldn't be any muscle showing on the testing.  The signs in the little closed space were glaring and shared CAUTION, BEWARE, RADIOACTIVE (all unsettling images) and then after she "yelled" at me the second time for sneaking my iPad out - she asked if I wanted music... and then turned on this top 40 crap.  Talk about NOT relaxing music!  I was pretty pissed at her so the next time she came in I told her to turn off the music.  You could say I was a little moody, because she had me in tears.  The last time I was here they left me in that room in the scanner and didn't hear me when I called (I let her know that too -- and she took offense right from the beginning).  I guess this is hard to explain to give you the full effect, but the last piece was when we asked for the CD of the imaging and she asked us to wait.  After 10 minutes I was streaming down tears and wanted to RUN away from that place.  

Needless to say we left before getting the disc.  My patience was wearing thin and at that time my eyes were swollen twice the size from crying so much.  

Then we went to Post Office to send some clothes back that I packed after buying them online and I didn't like them - they are all too big!  :(  So we got there and the guy says that it is going to cost me $10.   Twice as much as it would have cost if I went with the home pick up UPS option.  I was ready to walk and he offered me an envelope could pack and it would be $4.  So I emptied the box repacked it and went to the other lady.  She weighed it and asked for $6.  I told her that I swore he said $3.95 and she snapped "NOT IF IT IS IN A PRIORITY ENVELOPE!" --- I snapped back "YOU DON"T NEED TO BE NASTY!" (my negotiation skills were not kicking in so well today) and gave the cash and walked out crying again!  ARGH ---- Poor Steve..... he had to put up with my inpatience all morning and just gave me a hug.  

I totally needed to go home...  I vented.... I got better.... and then when I got the great news today --- it's all good and I feel great once again.  They say it can be irritation and moods caused by the steroids (Prednisone)....  so watch out! :)

So that is my update --- I have been on a high from all the amazing comments on my video posted below.  It was truly an amazing experience.  I am on a high now from the results of the PET scan. 

Next week I start treatment again on Monday - - meet the new doctor that is going to be handling the Methatrexate portion of my treatment at Baystate on 9/23.  Hoping to have a great weekend on the boat, get in a couple long runs, and maybe a little golf, get my brakes fixed, work on the rock and get ready for Schuyler's birthday.  :)

Sharing a couple of my latest favorite quotes below: 

"I love Tuesdays, almost as much as Wednesdays, better than Mondays, not as good as Thursdays, thinking you can't beat Fridays --- until you hit the WEEKEND! :) Enjoy each and every day!" 

-- Nancy Cook, on Life!

'If you have a task to perform and are vitally interested in it, excited and challenged by it, then you will exert maximum energy. But in the excitement, the pain of fatigue dissipates, and the exuberance of what you hope to achieve overcomes the weariness.'  - Unknown

Thanks for stopping by --- please leave a comment!


Nancy E said...

I received 42 comments & 39 LIKES from Facebook and had to post them as comments.... this is
Nancy E. Peck-Cook GREAT news from the Doc! Tremendous response now shows on PET minimal signs - it's WORKING! Woot! Woot!
Douglas Mackenzie, Linda Ledoux Pacheco, Murray McGrath and 39 others like this.

Lynne Redfern Godbout FANTASTICCCCC!!! I knew you'd kick ass & win

Nichole Pfeiffer HOORAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kara Murray Stanley This is the best news I've heard all week!! YAY!!!!

Ann Eschelbach Wheet wonderful!

Shelley MacAllister AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
18 hours ago · Unlike · 2 people ·
Sandy McDonald FANTASTIC news!! Chicago- here she comes!!!

Leslie Daigle Great news Nancy!!

Fabiola Courchesne Awesome news Nancy!!

Karla N Kuhlman Knepper YEAH!!!!!! You will kick its butt... I'm sure of this!
Christine Couture YEAH!
Lynn Lenker Of course it is - know that everything WILL work out well for your beautiful self.
Amy Novak Yeah!!
Melanie Brewton Smith Woo hoo....doing the happy dance.
Dawn Cook Zajk It isn't working, YOU ARE WORKING IT!!!!!!!! Great news! Cpngratulations!
Jana Ash Miller Yeah!!!!!
Daniel W. Ovitt That's Awesome!

Mary Howell If only there was a more positive response than 'Like!' How about LOVE it! Awesome!

Mike Courchesne great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tabi Freedman There's nothing like a good PET. Triple W00T W00T W00T for you grrlie!

Jeanette McKenna MacKenzie ya-hoo!!

Helen Andrews Plant AWESOME!!!!!!!
Cal Graves Great!!
Jean E. Takehara-Zahn YAHOO! What great news! Wonder Woman is winning!

Holly Randall Maki Best news I have heard in a LONG time! YAHOO!!!
Sasha Jenkins Edwards I am so happy to hear that Nancy!! That is amazing news. Sooo happy for you!!
Sue Ann Maresca Wooooo-Hooooooo! YOU ARE INCREDIBLE. Hugs to you. Love, SAM
Cindy Groseclose So happy for you!!!!!!!!
Maureen A. Terry DeForge YEEEEEAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dancing feet! Dancing feet!!!!! Uh-huh! Uh-huh!! Woot! Woot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm happy for you!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

Lorna Meunier Yes, yes, yes, yes. You are a very strong woman and it is showing.
Gregg Walker I told you, "King Kong ain't got nuth'n on You!"
Kris Murner Best. News. Ever!!!

Colleen McCarthy Doyle quadruple like - great news!
Kimberly Walker-Thurmond Yes!!!! Yes!!!!

Joe Cook Amen!!!

Lori Tilden Smith AWESOME!!!! I am so happy for you:)

Cheryl Miller Mahon That is awesome Nancy! I had no doubt you would battle that c word and win big!!!

Paulette Tardiff Rowell Yes!

Robin L. Stoddard Nancy, that is Fantastic news

Joyce Cruse Pemberton OMGOMGOMG...SOOOOO happy and praising God for answered prayers. You are a rock and Steve are so much in my prayers and thoughts throughout the day...LOVE THIS news!!!!!

Andrew Braun There was never a doubt in my mind that you would kick Cancer's a** !!!!

Kristina Tooker Grasso That's fabulous!! I'm thrilled for you :). Sending on lots of love.

Olivia Gertz The best news ever - YEA!

Suzy said...

Way to kick that cancer right in the balls!
Love and a hug,

Nancy E said...


Barb Wood Outstanding news Nancy! You certainly have reason to celebrate!

Karen Redden Becker I'm so happy to hear this good news, Nancy!! You're in my prayers every day!

Kathi Matthews Best post ever! So happy to hear this GREAT NEWS! Keep up the good work.

Patti Malloy McKone GREAT news - YAY!!! :-)

Shannon Filippelli ‎*Hugs* Nancy, this is such great news! We are so happy for you. XOX from the whole Filippelli clan.

Wendy J. Matthews said...

AWESOME NEWS NANCY! You just made my day!!!!!!!!!!!!