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, May 20, 2011

Castleton State College Magazine- Wonder Woman highlight!

Last spring I communicated with my alma mater Castleton State College on my recent challenge with my upcoming Boston marathon after my lymphoma diagnosis.  I sent them the same interview info I shared with the ACS and then to my surprise this week a friend alerted me to this amazing article featuring my story.  A wonderful piece that I am so thankful to share with all of you.  Brought tears to my eyes reading it and just feeling the support of so many of you all over and thankful for my family and friends once again!

Friday, May 13, 2011

"HOPE" for Relay For Life Fight Back Ceremony

I wrote this for a Relay that I could not appear in person.  They asked me to write my story in order to present it at their "Fight Back" Ceremony.  I wrote it in 3rd person.  Hope you like it.     :) Please leave a message if you stop by! 


It IS all about HOPE... and once you have HOPE 
you can share HOPE and if you inspire others, they can in turn inspire you."

  These words are from a woman in Western Mass, a woman that I heard speak last fall when she was in the middle of treatment for Stage 4 diffuse large Bcell lymphoma.  Her words rang loud and clear for all of us in the room at this special Relay For Life Summit. 
She shared her experience of hearing those words… “you have cancer” She shared the experience of her treatment, her fantastic doctors & nurses She shared how she finds strength, in people like you and me, people that Relay, people that care enough to fight back against cancer and support the mission of the American Cancer Society.   

We support our cancer survivors in our community.
This woman, Nancy, in the fall she ran the Chicago marathon 2/3 of the way through treatment in a Wonder Woman costume with a time of 3:57.  That was amazing!  But was more amazing is the inspiration she has given to others that are surviving cancer, caregivers to those survivors and to all those that may hear those words… “you have cancer”  Then after the possibility of more cancer they removed her spleen at the end of February.  She ran the Boston Marathon 6 weeks after that surgery this past April.  The results were negative.  They didn’t find cancer in her spleen.  What a crazy year enduring what she likes to call “The Toughest Marathon of My Life” Look the beast in the eye.  Focus on what makes you strong.  Endure.   Her word rang out again…

“No one can hold you back from doing all the things you want to do.  Just keep your goals in sight, listen to your body and take one day at a time.  Some days will be better than others, but every day is a blessing. - so make each day the best it can be. "

Today & tomorrow we are Sharing hope.  Feeling hope.  Spreading hope.   When you Relay you are in a field of hope.  

What do you hope for?  
 Quality of life?  
Better treatments?  A cure for cancer? Look around.  That is what we all hope for at Relay. 

We celebrate life. 
We remember those we have lost 
We fight back to find a cure. 
Creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays. Thank you for being here, for making a difference in the fight against cancer, for making this day and every day the best it can be. 

Are you ready? 
Let’s Relay!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Boston Marathon Results!

Here it is...  the final results and to share with you the thank you note I sent to my donors... what a great marathon, a great focus for me during this crazy time in my life.  
Note:  On that Tuesday following the marathon on 4/19 there was an All Staff Briefing where they shared my "update" with the ACS staff nationwide.  I was honored as they share my story as inspiration and to show my Wonder Woman photo on screen and on the webcast.  I was in the air traveling to Salt Lake City for our annual family vacation at Snowbird and not able to see it live, but my friends shared the moment and the virtual cheers from across the country -- how cool is that!

My thank you note:

Thank you to all the ACS DetermiNation volunteers and staff too!  

This truly was my best experience for DNation!  I consider myself an "expert"!  :) 
The Dream Team was truly amazing with their participation and results!  
I had to share my results and experience in photos as it is truly a celebration of life for me to have these results after only 6 weeks after having my spleen removed and 5 months since my last chemo treatment.  :)  

"Focus on what makes you happy and strong, no matter what, live it, breathe on and you too will go beyond being a survivor!"
- Nancy E Cook

My Boston Marathon Results! 
(I looked these up for my thank you notes and had to share with all of you!) THANK YOU for your support of me during these past months of trials and tribulations! :)

9162 Cook, Nancy E 46 F Belchertown MA USA 
5k = 0:21:17
10k = 0:43:18
Half = 1:35:00
Overall pace = 0:08:02
Finish Time Official. = 3:30:27

98% finished that started the race - below is based on finishers 
Time Overall = 7797 out of 24338 = Top 32% of all finishers
Gender - 1447 = 10281 = Top 14% of all women
Division = 101 = 1611 = Top 6% in age 45-49
Top woman finisher in my age group was 2:51:02 and number 10 was 3:12:40
Definitely do-able times in my book for the future! :)

ACS DetermiNation
Boston is my #5 DetermiNation effort in less than 3 years !!
I raised $1933.80 for the American Cancer Society through the Boston Marathon effort and the amazing support of all my donors !!
The Dream Team (6 truly incredible athletes) raised $18,893.80 !!
19 marathon runners supported ACS DetermiNation at the Boston Marathon and raised $47,614.50 !!

Time for a new goals! :)
So incredibly happy with my results and the truly amazing efforts in the fight against cancer !!

What's next? Vermont 50 miler in October and NYC Marathon in November and what ever else comes before that! 

Life is good. :)