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, July 19, 2011

Almost Heaven

We had such an amazing vacation at Mt Hood last week.  10 glorious days of cool Oregon weather.  Waking up early to catch the chair at 7 am - the lifts close at 1 pm because it gets so warm.  It is a ski racing meca.  They salt the slopes each morning and hope that the clouds (fog) doesn't settle in because it limits visibility so much you can't ski.  We were "fogged" out on Tuesday.  One day off to visit the wineries and waterfalls in the region on Monday.  This is the first of my sharing of my fave photos from our trip.  

The mountain in the distance you can see directly from the "Magnificent Mile" (the mile long chair ride to the top of Mt Hood) is Mt Jefferson.  My zoom allowed me to get these amazing shots all week!  

The name of this one is "Almost Heaven".  I entered it in the MoreBirthdays art contest with the inspiration  of guiding cancer patients through every step of their journey.  It was 1 year ago today that I was diagnosed with cancer.  It was the beginning of July and we had reservations to go and participate in the Peak Performance Ski Racing Camp at Mt Hood.  We had to cancel those plans because of the fast growing cancer inside of me.  It was quite the journey - as this blog has shared my steps along the way.  The programs and guidance of the American Cancer Society kept me informed, helped me to advocate for my care, educated me whenever I had questions and bottom line made for the best experience that I could have in treatment of my cancer.   This and the all the people that were there for me whenever I needed them, the gifts, the cards, the love that I felt from all my family, friends and colleagues.   

Almost heaven --- after making it through CAT scans, PET scans, blood tests (they all sound small but are all so stressful - not knowing what is in store).  4 months of chemotherapy, needles, drugs, nausea, exhaustion, weight loss, losing my hair, my eyebrows, and feeling like total crap.  Wigs and my favorite pirate cap are some of my fun memories.  Speaking on stage about my journey to inspire others.... running.... racing... kicking it in whenever I could ..... running 2 marathons (and pretty fast if I say so myself!) --- the second one sans my spleen.  It all seems like a crazy dream right now with my curly brown hair coming in (not gray - yay!) and running a 19:56 5K to win 3rd place and a pair of sneakers at a local race in Springfield, MA.  

Then to finally make it to the top of that mountain - Mt. Hood.  To race GS, to ski the glacier with my family, to get through those slalom gates without getting smacked in the face and actually look pretty good! :)  This is another step in my journey to share the sweet feeling of the view from where I stand.  The glorious mountains of Oregon.  I am so happy to share these photos with you.   More than you can imagine......

Live each day
Look to the horizon 
See it 
and Feel 
Almost Heaven

View of Mt Jefferson from the top of Mt Hood

Sweet Shot Day

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