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, December 7, 2010

All Staff Briefing - Survivor Speaker

I recently was honored to be asked to be the American Cancer Society staff survivor speaker at our National All Staff briefing in Atlanta, Georgia.  I worked with Laurie Entriken from our national office Talent Strategy team and shared my blog and experience with her before getting to work on putting together a presentation for Friday, December 3.  Steve took the time off from work to fly down and support me - which truly thrilled me as he had not been to our National Home Office.  I was so proud to share our organization with him on the trip.  :)

It was a few reiterations, drafts and practices of the presentation in front of Steve that got me to the final.  I had not practiced a speech so much before the day as I am pretty good at "winging it" but it paid off.  :)
  There was about 200 people there in the audience and another 200 across the country tuning in to the All Staff Briefing and my speech at the end of the program.  Cara - aka: BatGirl came to see me speak that morning, taking time off from work as well --- (she is such a busy girl - it meant the world to have her there too!).

I felt pretty shaky, although listening to it now I can't feel the shakiness like I could on stage.  My mouth was so dry and it got worse through the presentation so next time I am going to drink a ton of water to prepare.... :)  I didn't have enough strength to open up that bottle of water, but that would have helped too.  : )

It has been great to look at all the pieces of my story that will make a difference to someone that will hear it and I think the marathon analogy was a good one.  I will also post my notes / speech  in a separate post for you to see as well.

Here is the presentation - enjoy!  Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!  :)

I want to share the photos that were displayed as well - it took me going through 35 favorites to get to the 10 final pics to share as part of the slide show.  I referred to them through my presentation so they will be posted with my notes from the presentation.

Thanks for stopping by - I know it has been a while. 
I get my PET scan tomorrow and see the Doc on Friday - Wish me luck!  :)


Posting a link to my presentation at the New England Relay U from September --- now with 2 speaking engagements under my belt, I think I am getting better at sharing this personal experience!  :)
"Bald Appearance brings standing O at the NEDIV Relay U!"  


Joyce Pemberton said...

Wonderful! You look so good, so beautiful Nancy! I'm so proud of you for stepping up and sharing your story, and so very happy that your co-workers have embraced you - as they should. I never felt that support from most of our team... ...but I'm glad that you have that love and support from everyone. Praying hard for good results on Friday!!

Jessica said...

Great speech! Many many prayers for your continued healing and clean scans this week. Stay strong, see you Saturday!

Julie D said...

Hi! I am a cancer survivor and determination athlete also. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 7 years ago. It was a life changing event as you know. At the end of my treatments, my doctor told me that I should try to stay at my high school weight. When she said this, all I could think was really?! I've had 3 kids and 25 years since high school! So 4 years ago I began running to stay fit and keep the weight off. I joined ACS as a determination athlete (a more recreational athlete) and then a volunteer about 3 years ago and it's been a great experience.

I wish you the best in your journey both in fighting your disease and in your running which is truly amazing.