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"!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vermont 50 miler - It's all about Survival

It was mentioned somewhere in my reading about ultra marathons, that when it gets to these long miles it really isn't about the "racing", it is about survival.   It struck me as amazing that after one year and a few months since diagnosis that I am embarking on a new journey, a 50 mile run / race - that will challenge my soul once again.  


I found this quote today while reading on the web -- it is so appropriate for my state of mind right now:


Some day you won't be able to do this anymore, today is not that day' - Anonymous 


It has been a 'crazy' year and I think back quite often to the challenges that I faced during my diagnosis, treatment and now recovery.    I lumped it all in the same experience and pushed myself to run Chicago, then Boston, now this 50 miler on the Vermont trails and mountains.... It was all blurred together, recovery from each treatment, building up my white blood cells to get slammed again.  I remember it all too well in fact.  I refused to sit down, I ran, I trained - set my goals - completed those 2 marathons with a HUGE smile on my face.  And now am so proud to look back and see what I accomplished. :)  


DetermiNation is a big word in my vocabulary these days.  I am proud to be a runner.   I am proud to be running faster than ever.  I have some marathon milestones accomplished through some big challenges to share... I am reminded of all of this in prep for the VT50 and looking back at the 26 marathons I have completed. 


2002 - Boston Marathon 6 months post partum.  Schuyler was born on 10/10/01 by way of C-section.  Losing that baby fat, healing from the C Section --- all quite challenging indeed. In addition living in New Hampshire at the time it was tough to get out there training in the winter months for an April marathon.  I had waived my entry (back when it was allowed to waive) - because of my pregnancy.  It was a "slow" Boston for me (4;20) -- but I finished and ran right to my baby boy.  Very cool indeed.  



2007 - Boston Marathon during my D time... the divorce years were tough (so worth it once I found the man of my dreams!) and I focused on my running early, late and whenever I needed a break.  It was the determination of an athlete to get through the tough times in your life.  The best thing about my 2007 race was my result surprised me --- I flew!  3:05 was the time.... I was 7th master in the year that they were going to cancel for a Noreaster that was predicted.  Wow.




2010 - Chicago Marathon - There were plenty of "nay-sayers" that were in disbelief when I told them I would run Chicago after being diagnosed with stage 4 diffuse large B cell lymphoma.  I was a runner.  It was how I managed stress, life balance, self confidence and more.  It was a part of my healing ---- to run --- every day if I could (which I couldn't during treatment week) and I did take plenty of days off.  But I stuck to my goal of running that marathon, figured I would walk if I had to.... supported by SO many people.  My friend Cara running beside me as BatGirl - introducing me as Wonder Woman to all as we ran - sharing my story of survival -- 2/3 of the way through chemotherapy.  Tingly feet & hands, a little sick to my stomach (love my ginger people!) - but I did it.  3:57 (a BQ for me!) was our finish time. Yay!

2011 Boston Marathon - It's not over until it is OVER .... so the docs thought they found more cancer and said that the best thing to do is to remove my spleen.  But .... I was signed up and running Boston... raising money for the 5th DetermiNation campaign in less than 3 years, and darn it!  Stupid cancer was not going to foil my plans again.  I built up my miles previous to the surgery - knowing I would need some time off... so I piled on those miles (55 plus for 3 weeks) - and then surgery --- and then Boston bound!  My Dream Team was there -- my hair was coming back ---- I finished that marathon in 3:30:27 (29 min faster than my BQ time).  


So today here I am ready to run a 50 miler.  Ready to pour it on in the mud, trails, hills and back woods of Vermont.  The early start --- maybe a 10 hour day?  Maybe a 9 hour day?  Maybe faster?  I just know that I am built to survive -- I am determined!  11 days and counting....  VT50 here I come!  It is all about survival and I am a SURVIVOR! :)  

You can see what I have accomplished in the past --- I think I am ready!  What do you think?  Please leave a comment below! :)  Thanks for stopping in!

3 comments:

Ashley Sisk said...

Your an amazing amazing woman - keep going girl!

runnergirl training said...

Very inspiring!!! Keep on!

Amanda said...

50 miles! Wow. I love reading about your experiences with the different races. And 3:05 is an INSANE time for a marathon. Keep it up! Love all the pictures too :)