And that was the beginning of a life changing journey....
I went into the race knowing I was not fast. I expected the 26.2 miles to take me at least 6 1/2 hours. My only goal was to finish the course. On two feet. Needless to say, a combination of a late start (my corral didn't cross the start line until almost 9am) the warmer than expected weather, and the cloudless sky made it impossible for me to finish.
This is the race report that I posted to my Facebook training group. "I had a lot of setbacks over the last 4 weeks of training, and to top it all off, I woke up with a horrible cold the Sunday before the race. I chose Chicago as my first marathon because I have lived here for 25 years (I guess you could call it my home town) and I didn't want the stress of having to travel someplace for my first marathon. A friend was scheduled to fly up from Atlanta to run it with me. This was his 3rd marathon. His goal was to be my encouragement. I called him my drill sergeant (He's an ex-Marine). We were in the last corral in the last wave so we didn't take off until almost 9:00am. He was great about reminding me to hydrate and take in fuel at appropriate intervals. I started to run out of steam after the half marathon mark. I am not sure if it was the heat, or if it was psychological. They started removing the aid stations, and the street sweepers and people who were disassembling the course messed with me. My favorite neighborhood was Pilsen (the Hispanic neighborhood). The spectators were still out there when I went through. There was an old man handing out flowers, another group had grapes and another had water. The stretch between Pilsen and Chinatown was the toughest. The sun was high, and I was beginning to feel faint. Shortly before the entry to Chinatown, I ran out of gas. 21.2 miles was all I had in me. I know I need to remind myself that I finished chemo less than 2 years ago, but I am terribly disappointed in myself. And embarrassed. Not sure what my running future plans are."
Today is Thursday, so I have had 3 days to really think about what my plans are for running. I am scheduled to run the Hot Chocolate 5k at the end of October with my Cancer to 5K group. I am not sure what the next race on my calendar will be. I do know that if I don't have a race scheduled, it will be very easy for me to take an extended break from running. And that won't be good for anyone!
In my last post I mentioned I was apprehensive about attending this conference. While I have learned a lot this weekend and met so many "teal sisters," I feel emotionally drained. I started this post at 3am because I cannot sleep. Even with a xanax.
I learned that there are many long term survivors. I have met women who were 10, 15, even 20 plus year survivors. That gives me a lot of hope. I have also met many women who have had a much harder road than I. One who particularly stands out is the young woman with 2 small children who fought her way to diagnosis over 2 years. Her cancer has caused many other medical issues. She has had 29 different surgeries, and was headed back home to go back to the hospital after the conference.
I learned that I need to ask to have my tumor tested, because even though my own genetics came back BRCA negative, it is possible that my tumor is. That will make a difference in how I should be treated in the event of a recurrence.
I learned that 42% of IP patients cannot complete treatment because of the toxicity. Many of the women I met this weekend started IP but were not able to complete the entire course of treatment.
I learned that there are fewer clinical trials for ovarian cancer than in years past, but that there have been many new treatments on the horizon. This is partially due to a reduction in government funding. I have decided I would like to get involved with the advocacy arm of the OCFRA. This will involve speaking with representatives of various government agencies and elected officials. I already have had some practice, given that I participated in a press conference with Senator Dick Durbin. I also learned more about how clinical trials work, so in the event of a recurrence I know what questions to ask.
There were so many useful and informative presentations. Here is the link to the presentations https://conference.ocrfa.org/presentations/
Next year's conference is in Washington DC. I already have it on my calendar.
I had good news at my checkup. My CA-125 is still at 8, unchanged from the last blood work. I scheduled my next checkup for 3 months, which is sometime in February. I left my appointment with the drumbeat finally silenced for a while. I had a celebratory breakfast with the dear friend who went to the oncologist with me, and then went into work.