Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween: Last year, chemo girl; this year, marathon runner!

My Favorite Candy, Monster and Technological Advancement!

Last year on Halloween I was rockin' a hot strawberry blonde wig. No, I wasn't dressed as one of my favorite superheros or cartoon characters - I was bald. I needed a wig so no one would stare at me with that look of pity in their eyes; I wore that wig so no one would know I was sick. I had just finished chemo and was about to embark on daily trips to NYC for radiation treatment. All I can say is it is amazing what 365 days can do for a person. 365 chances to start anew and enjoy life. 365 mornings to embrace and evenings to enjoy. For me it has been 365 days of getting ready for tomorrow, November 1st.

"Why 11-1?" you may ask; no, it is not because of the hour we gain when we set our clocks back - although it is a nice trade for the fact it will be dark when I depart from work when the day is over. It is not the fact the holiday season "frenzy" kicks into high gear even though I love Thanksgiving and Christmas. No, for me it is about getting up at an ungodly hour and making the trek to Staten Island. It is about joining 41,999 other runners facing 26.2 miles. It is about crossing the finish line no matter how long it takes (although 4 1/2 hours would be sweet!) It is about finally feeling like I beat this cancer thing. It is my return to normal life.

No one tells you how to live life AFTER having cancer. I think I have figured out why: you just need to live. For me that means finding my limits and enjoying the exploration. For me it means with every footstep through the five boroughs I will be thankful that I am here and healthy and able to run. I'll be the one in pink, the runner with a huge smile on her face and more than likely some tears - not from pain, but from victory. My bib # is 46378 - watch out NYC, here I come!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rainy Sundays

I am procrastinating, big time! I need to get in a 15 mile run and I awoke to a cold, gray, rainy Sunday morning. I would much rather stay in my fluffy bathrobe sipping coffee in front of the roaring fire that Greg has built in our new wood stove.

Why would I wait until Sunday to do my long run? Well, I have been suffering pain in two of my toes on my right foot. A trip to the podiatrist on Friday resulted in me receiving a needle full of cortisone between the two said toes. Not fun. Doc advised I needed to take Saturday off but that I should be fine for the marathon - which is now two (2!!!) week away!

Friday, October 16th was National Mammogram Day - have you had yours yet?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall 2009

The leaves are turning glorious shades of burgundy and gold. The air smells like campfire as the evenings grow cool and our neighbors stoke their fireplaces. Pumpkins and mums are everywhere - yes, fall has arrived to Northern NJ.

The past few weeks have been packed full of great events but the beauty of the season dimmed recently when the world lost another 41 year old woman to the beast that is breast cancer. Kate was a pharmacist who worked with me. I never had the privilege to meet her personally, but met so many folks who did; each of whom smiled when they spoke of her, I felt I knew her. Kate was diagnosed late in the game, stage 4. She fought a good fight and leaves behind a husband, two children and a cadre of co-workers who will never be the same.

Greg and I have been so fortunate: we spent Saturday night with friends and family at Giants Stadium seeing The Boss. Sunday was our 6th anniversary. We had a wonderful lunch outside at Vento in NYC, walked the Highline, and capped the evening having champagne with friends.

Last weekend we were in Vancouver, an incredible city. We did the zip lines down Grouse Mountain, drove out to Whistler and took the Peak 2 Peak gondola ride. Oh yeah, we also spent two days on the set of this little film - "Eclipse". Yes, THAT Eclipse, the 3rd in the Twilight series. Film making is an interesting thing, I think I found watching security flush out the paparazzi from the trees more entertaining than take after take of the same scene. I will admit those vampires are quite pretty....

We returned to NJ in time for the opening night reception of "The Faces of Breast Cancer" exhibit at the Morris Museum. It was somewhat surreal to see two photos of me hanging there; the show itself is wonderful and literally took me breath away. As I looked at the photos of so many survivors, I was reminded of how I felt a mere year ago as I approached the end of my chemo treatment, of how I looked (bald) and how thankful I was to be alive.

In this vein, fall also brings a plethora of pink as October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Have you had your mammogram yet?