Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saying Goodbye to January

It is January 31st already. 2009 is already flying by. Good news from my latest ultrasound - everything absolutely normal. Gotta love it!

I feel great, so good in fact that Jess and I did a ten mile training run this morning through Boonton and Mountain Lakes. Thank goodness for the new Starbucks in Denville as we had a brief respite from the 20 degree weather and winds currently gripping Northern NJ. It is a beautifully sunny Saturday though so I am not really complaining all that much.

Yesterday was Greg's birthday so we celebrated by staying in and playing with his new Wii system. Technology is an amazing thing. Yes, it helped find and eradicate my cancer but it also lets us pretend we are Jedis with our very own light sabers! What a great time to be alive!

Superbowl tomorrow. No preference as to who wins just as long as my numbers come in... have a great week everyone!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mile Markers

The weather here this past Friday and Saturday was a balmy 40 degrees affording me the chance to log some outdoor runs. Did eight miles Saturday morning with Jess and felt pretty good; of course tired by day's end but otherwise not bad.

I have been reflecting a lot on the past year lately as the 1 year anniversary of my diagnosis looms in the future. I keep trying to recall my thoughts/plan/hope and dreams for 2008 and wrap my brain around how things played out. Everything has its reason; I am still trying to figure this one out!

I am also dealing with the stress that comes with every follow-up scan/test and exam - stress as I wait to hear those few words, "all is clear". So far so good. (And yes that is the sound of me knocking wood!)

Much good news this past week - Learned a friend is having a baby, another gave birth to her daughter. I was able to visit my friend Phyllis and laugh about how much her life has changed in the past year as well as she awaits the birth of Alexia! We celebrated Greg's dad's 70th birthday and look forward to Greg's upcoming 39th. Life marches on and I am trying my best to embrace every minute - the good (saw two great films: "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Wrestler") and the bad (saw one very bad film: "Max Payne"); now if I could only convince myself to enjoy winter!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Hot Flashes Can Be Useful

The weather here in the Northeast can be best described using that nasty four letter word: COLD!!! I do not believe the temperature gauge registered above 20 this week. And oh yeah - that other four letter word keeps cropping (or should I say piling) up - SNOW. I have been sticking to the treadmill for my runs which is not all that exciting. (I have run in 17 degree weather which actually has not been bad and I have a running partner as crazy as I am; shout out to you Amy!) So, the side effects I suffer most from by taking tamoxifen, hot flashes, have actually come in quite handy this week! No more nights fighting Greg for the blankets; he can have them as I am heated from the inside out!

This week promises to be one of new beginnings as Barack Obama will become our President. His mantra of change brings to me a message of hope. I do not envy the man as he walks into the mire of economic woes and foreign conflict that highlight the daily news. I have been trying to pay attention to his thoughts around health care and what impact it may have on me not only as a patient but as an employee of a health care company. The use of an electronic medical record resonates loudly with me as I constantly cite my example of going to three different departments in the same hospital on the same day and completing the same paperwork and signing the same privacy form. Wouldn't it be nice if they could just share? We live in an incredible time of medical advance; I am excited to see what the future brings now that I am convinced I'll be around to see it!

Myself, I plan to keep running and promoting breast cancer awareness. I am shooting for possibly two marathons this year: the Nike Race for Women in San Francisco and, if I get in, the ING Marathon in NYC. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Today I am looking at 7 miles on my treadmill. Yuck. The Hyannis 1/2 is about a month away so I need to do it. Looks like I'll be turning on the TV and watching whatever mindless drivel can take me away from the fact I am not getting anywhere!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Well That Wasn't Very Much Fun!

For those of you who read my post from last night - I am feeling MUCH BETTER today! In fact, I feel almost normal. Yowza, that Zometa really hit me hard! Thankfully its effects were short lived! Lesson learned - get Zometa infusion on Fridays so I have Saturday to recover.

The weekend weather forecast here is for snow and for lots of it. Probably not a bad thing, I should take the time to do a purge. I realized it was necessary when I pulled three gray v-neck sweaters out of my closet - all basically the same. Not sure how that happened but I shudder to think what else I might find in the recesses of my now well-lit closet. Did I mention that Greg had installed lighting in my closet? That he even put a light over my shoe rack so I could see all my shoes? He still surprises me from time to time!

I have recovered from my Zometa experience but it has left me tired; time to call it a night!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


So, have you ever had the flu so badly you literally crawl to the restroom and then figure, "What the heck, I'll just stay here", as the tile floor is cool against your feverish head and your bedroom seems further away than a 26.2 mile marathon run.... your entire body just and if you coudl lift your arm you would shake your fist at the sky and ask "why me?" Welcome to the after effects of Zometa.

This lovely little drug is being given to me once every six months to help prevent bone loss that could result from my hormone therapy. I returned to NY yesterday afternoon as Zometa is a drug that is infused. It was down right disconcerting to return to the "chemo room" and be hooked up to the same machine that forced boat loads of toxic chemicals into my body for five months. (Noted -the toxic chemicals used to save my life!) In fact I was advised by one of the nurses to never play poker as she could see my distress plainly across my face. I was not alone however, I met a wondeful woman who was going through the same protocol I had been through and was into the end weeks of her Taxol treatment. New to NYC via London, she had an amazing attitude and made me laugh a lot. Her mom was with her as well and so very nice. This woman was so motivated to help others that she makes her own wigs as she was unhappy with those she purchased and figured others were also!

I was warned that Zometa might make me feel bad the following day. Feel bad? I had been through chemo; I am sure it could not be worse. I dutifully took the Advil I was given and Greg met me at the office to drive me home but I felt fine. In fact I felt so good I was able to run! It was around noon when I started to get that feeling - my upper back ached, similar to when I had taken Neulasta but nothing too bad. That was coming.

By 2pm I was shivering. I had chills and pain everywhere - even my teeth ached! It was not a horrible pain but a dull one radiating everywhere from the top of my head to my toes. I made it through a dr. appt. (annual exam) and hobbled to my car. I drove home and quickly changed, set up my laptop and began to work. I realized I could not move all that well, so yes, found myself crawling on the floor to my bed. I feel a wee bit better now but lay on the floor as I type this as my hips hurt when I sit down. I know this is temporary and I do not have the flu but I will never again discount the warnings of my nurses! I hope to feel better come the morning!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 - finally!

NYRR Emerald Nuts Midnight Run

2008 is now behind us - yeehaw! A new year, a fresh beginning; 2009 holds such promise! I hope to officially close the chapter of my life entitled - "2008, The Year That Started Out Great But Turned Into One Big Nightmare" - and never open it again!

I kicked off 2009 with a brisk (and that is being kind to old Mother Nature!)4 mile jog through Central Park with 5,000 other crazy folks. Jess, Denise, and Joel were runners too and Greg was our ever faithful photographer! It was COLD!!! However knowing what we were facing I dressed in several layers and found it to be not all that bad. Of course, I felt like the Michelin Man or that kid from "The Christmas Story" but it was well worth it!

Greg and I had trekked into the city earlier in the day to pick-up our bibs and t-shirts. While I was in the NYRR offices, one of the volunteers complimented me on my freshly blonde hair. I laughed and thanked her saying I have become accustomed to its ease. She asked what made me cut it - was I just tired of long hair? I explained my lack of choice in the matter and she smiled as she handed me my number - "Obviously you are going to be okay, you are starting 2009 off in a great way." I agreed, "2009 is going to be a MUCH BETTER year!"

As we ran along the dark trail with fireworks exploding overhead I could not help but reflect on the past year. I had started 2008 in a similar fashion, running the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run with Jess and Denise. I tried to recall what I was thinking about early January 1st 2008: about what I thought 2008 would be like, about the plans I had, how I felt. Basically I remember I was planning for the Disney Marathon which would take place later that month as well as thinking about trying to qualify for the 2009 ING Marathon in NYC by participating in the requisite 9 NYRR races. Physically I felt great. I looked forward to a year of running, of working in my garden once the warm weather returned - the possibilities were endless!

I do have some more physician appointments this month but I am confident that 2009 will be a year of clean scans, longer hair (can anyone say extensions?), and a very keen awareness of just how wonderful this thing called life can be. I hope to find a way to volunteer during 2009 outside of the normal awareness walks. I also hope to join the local dragon boat team; a team that is comprised of local survivors who row out on Lake Parsippany. I look forward to being able to spend time with all of our family and celebrate graduations, (Kristen for high school!) weddings, (Lisa and Russ), and milestone birthdays (Maia's 1st).

I look forward to running with friends, trying out the new NYSC in Butler, and using my BOSU (thanks to mom!) I will embrace each and every day I get to walk upon this planet and I will definitely try to be more "green" in all that I do. Maybe I'll even get a hybrid car...

The list is endless but I am filled with hope. I have seen the dark side and I do not plan on visiting again. Next doctor visit is next week. I'll keep you posted! Best wishes to all for a very HAPPY and HEALTHY 2009!