Whatever your diagnosis, and whatever your hobby, being part of a community will be an important contribution to your own recovery. If you don't have a community now, find one!
I have mentioned in previous blog posts that I have been involved in 2 different running communities. I figured I would use today's blog post to tell you a little about one of them and how it has helped me!
My Cancer to 5K group met twice a week for 12 weeks. The group is part of the Ulman Cancer Group for Young Adults. At the beginning of the season, each survivor participant was provided with 3 potential training plans: novice, intermediate and advanced. The novice was similar to the Couch to 5K training plan I was working with after I was cleared by my physical therapist to begin running again. I really looked forward to my Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning runs with the group! Each survivor had a sherpa during each of the group runs, and each group had several different coaches. Included in my participation was registration in the Hot Chocolate 5K in Chicago and new pair of professionally fitted running shoes from Fleet Feet!
The day of the race, which was October 30th, I was interviewed as one of two survivors on the Jumbotron at the beginning of the race. It was pretty exciting, lots of people I know say they were at the race and saw me on the screen. I even have a couple of pictures of myself on the screen. Not only did the Cancer to 5K group get me back to running on a regular basis, but I truly treasure the friendships I made with the people in the group. I know we won't have another formal running season all winter, but I hope I will be able to get together with them for some informal runs, and maybe some pizza and beer!
Tomorrow I will write about my participation in a heart rate training plan put together by the Train Like a Mother Club.
Even though I was determined to use this blog as a means of increasing the awareness of Ovarian Cancer symptoms and providing support for other cancer survivors who were returning to running after completing their treatment, I haven't been that consistent about blogging since I completed my own treatment.
The prompt for today was "When was the last time you did something brave? What happened?" My plan was not to use the daily prompts when I decided to sign up for the challenge, but this prompt was too good to let pass by!
My entire cancer journey has been a test of my bravery. My diagnosis in December 2015, my 6 cycles of chemotherapy, the run up to each 3 month checkup. My next 3 month checkup is November 14th, 10 days before Thanksgiving.
I had dinner with my "cancer mentor" tonight. We were matched up by an organization called Imerman Angels. Their mission is that no one face cancer alone. They match cancer patients with someone who has had a similar diagnosis but is further along in treatment or remission. We talked about the "drumbeat" of impending checkups. How it increases the closer the checkup date gets, and how it slowly dissipates after a clear checkup, until the next one.
After my diagnosis, I tried to face my impending treatment with bravery. Mostly because I wanted to make sure my kids (aged 17 and 22) weren't too worried about what was going to happen. I knew chemotherapy was going to be tough, and that each cycle was going to be worse than the previous ones.
I like to think that the inner strength I found during treatment serves as an example for others. My kids, my friends, other cancer patients.
I was driving home from work today with the music in my IPhone on shuffle. I do that from time to time because I always love the variety of music I have in my library. Bee Gees, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Prince, Neil Diamond, Depeche Mode, John Cougar Mellencamp.
I haven't heard some of the songs that came on in quite a while. One song that really reasonated with me today is "Your Life is Now" by John Cougar Mellencamp.
"See the moon roll across the stars; See the seasons turn like a heart; Your father's days are lost to you; This is your time here to do what you will do. Your life is now, your life is now"
Short blog post, I know. I want to blog more often, so I signed up for NaBloPoMo which is National Blog Posting Month. I'm committed to writing one blog post each day, weekends and Thanksgiving included, for the month of November. I am hoping to use my commitment to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms and research.
I'm writing this as I am sitting at urgent care, waiting for the results of an X-ray on my knee. On October 9th I volunteered to work at the Chicago Marathon, mostly because I was hoping that it would motivate me to take my running more seriously, so I can run a marathon next year.
My shift started at 4:30am. It was interesting walking around Grant Park in the pitch black. But that's not when I fell. I fell at the end of my shift, walking back to my car. I tripped over a big crack in the sidewalk. And I fell HARD. And I wasn't using my phone while I was walking. I landed on both knees and one wrist. I was in a good deal of pain the following day, but I stayed off it, iced it and took ibuprofen. It was starting to feel better.
This past weekend it started to hurt again. So after almost a week of dealing with the pain, I decided to go ahead and have it X-rayed. After all, I've met my out of pocket maximum, so why not take advantage now.
Which leads me to tonight. I was at a mindfullness class at The Wellness House (more about that in another post) in Hinsdale, so I decided to head over to the urgent care around the corner. I really didn't consider that this was the first place I heard that I might have ovarian cancer. Talk about a trigger. It's been all I could manage to not burst into tears while I was in the exam room. To make matters worse, it was the same ER doc who I saw here in December. But at least they didn't put me in the same exam room.
My oncology social worker said that I was suffering from PTSD. I really didn't think it was possible. But after tonight's "adventure," there is no doubt in my mind that I do.
A friend of mine and I signed up for the "Run for Sam Adams 5K" on Memorial Day. The information about the race said there would be beer at the end of the race.
Through out my journey the Cisplatin treatments have been the toughest on me. They have been responsible for 5 lost weekends and were almost responsible for giving up on completing all 6 cycles of chemotherapy. In addition to this weekend being Mothers Day, today (Saturday) is also my son's 21st birthday. I encouraged him to come spend the weekend at home, even though I wasn't sure how "good" I was going to feel.
In anticipation of the effects of my treatments this week, drastically increased the amount of fluids I drank and started daily Mira-lax beginning on Monday. I also had the oncologist's office arrange for me to head back to the hospital this morning for IV infusion of fluids. Things at the hospital were not great. Even though there appeared to be no one in the ER when I arrived, it took almost 30 minutes to get taken up to the room that had been reserved for me. I arrived in my room at 10:30, yet the nurses didn't start the infusion of my fluids until almost 12 noon. It didn't seem like they were that busy. First they were waiting for my fluids to arrive from the pharmacy, then they were waiting to reach the doctor to get the orders (which I was pretty certain had already been input into the hospital's system when they set up my appointment. Once they finally got the infusion started the nurse informed me that it would take 8 hours to complete the process. I told her that the past two times I had been admitted, it was a 2 hour process, not 8. Could she please check with the doctor? Then the nurse went MIA for a while. After 3 hours, she returned and told me the doctor had authorized increasing the rate of infusion, but I would still be there "a while." I told her I needed to leave by 4pm. Long story short, I rang the nurse call button at 4pm, and I was finally able to leave the hospital at 4:45. This was definitely not the best experience I have had at Edwards Hospital.
I did feel well enough to take my son out to dinner for his birthday, even though it wasn't to his first choice restaurant. I didn't eat much, which was expected because of the IP treatment. But it was great to share dinner with my son, his fiance, and terrific family friends.
Mother's Day was a different story. I slept for almost 12 hours Saturday night. Breakfast was toast and coffee, along with donuts that my son went out to get. I spent most of the day sitting in a chair in the living room, watching the Cooking Channel and the Food Network. I was sad when my son and his fiance left for Madison. I really enjoyed having them here this weekend, even though we didn't do much.
All in all, this wasn't the "lost weekend" that my previous Cisplation treatments were responsible for. Something I am grateful for. On to my last Taxol treatment this Friday!