Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quote of the Day

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘WOO HOO! What a ride!’

Monday, March 29, 2010

Breathing Lessons

Yes I understand that every life must end,..
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go,..
I’m a lucky man to count on both hands
The ones I love,..

Some folks just have one,
Others they got none,..

Pearl Jam - Just Breathe

My surgery date has been changed this week from Friday to Thursday. As I mentioned this fact to my trainer during my workout this morning, she did not miss a beat when she responded, "Great - one day closer to your recovery!". I realized yet again, what a fortunate person I am.

Now on the surface one may not think I am very lucky dealing with cancer issues for a 2nd time. However, referring to the Pearl Jam song above which resonates with me for the line about being able to count on both hands the ones that I love - I am able to say I use my toes too. I have amazing friends (special shout out to "the girls"; I cannot thank you enough for a wonderful weekend!); and incredible family that surrounds me as well as a man who stands by my side no matter what. Yes, I am lucky indeed.

So, I go into this week with a bit of fear and hesitation but I did have time this past week to step back and take a breath. I have said it before and will say it again; per the words of that wise Jedi Master Yoda - "There is no try, only do." (Yes, I am a geek!)I will have this surgery and I will be okay and whatever is, well, it will be and I am leaning to be okay with that.

Monday, March 22, 2010

It is okay not to be Superwoman

Last week I did something so radical, so scary, so out of character for me that I have to say it was hardest thing I have ever done. It was harder than hearing I had cancer, even harder than being bald or enduring 16 weeks of chemotherapy. Last week I had to give up control. (Those who know me well will understand why this was the hardest thing I ever had to do!)

What brought this on? For me it was a hard smack of reality that struck me when I hung up from being on hold with my physician's office because I was stressed I was late for other items demanding my attention. Hear that loud smacking noise? That is me hitting my forehead saying "WHAT ARE YOU DOING???!!!" So, after a good cry, I had to admit that superwoman I was not (of course I'm not, I am Batgirl...) and that it was okay not to be superwoman.

So, this week I am taking some time to pause and to fully appreciate all that I have, all that I can do, and all the wonderful people in my life. I am going to learn how to use my new iphone, work in my yard, and spend time with my husband. I am going to swim and run and observe the flowers pushing their way through the soil. I am going to spend time with my girlfriends and I am going to handle all the paperwork/pre-op testing/phone calls needed before Good Friday. I am just going to be and that, that is okay.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Longer Days

We changed the clocks at 2am today - 1 hour forward meaning one hour less of sleep but one hour more of sunlight in the evening. Usually this would cause me to exclaim "today is my favorite day of the year!" but 3/14/10 is playing out to be quite an interesting day but perhaps not a favorite.

3/14/10 is well, wet. There is water everywhere! The waterfall in our backyard is rushing over the hillside at such a speed that the normally tranquil sound is similar to the roar of a train. My brother spent the day trying to staunch the flow of water into his basement while my grandfather was evacuated from the home he returned to (from Florida) only yesterday. I can only imagine what tomorrow morning's commute will be like.

On a positive note, I officially ergistered my team for the 2010 Reach the Beach relay. We are running under the moniker, "The Situation" - yeah - we're about training and tanning...

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Saturday Morning in March

One pair of now well-worn Asics Gel Nimbus running shoes - $120

Various pieces of winter weather running apparel - $145

Running hills in Smoke Rise with your brother on a crisp March Saturday morning - priceless

The above may sound somewhat hokey but there is nothing like breathing in the cool winter air on a day that has a sky of perfect blue and all you hear is your own footsteps and those of your running partner. Suddenly my brother comments, "Fox!" - I look up to see a sight of pure beauty - the gloriously thick red coat of a fox speeding along against a backdrop of white snow. Of course said fox was also carrying its breakfast in its jaws and I do not think the chipmunk was enjoying the ride but what a wondrous sight anyhow.

We continue to run bantering back and forth about the homes we pass, the hills we climb and the events on deck for the day. We finish and the day is still young, my heart is pumping and I am wide awake and filled with what can only be described as joy; I have a day filled with plans of seeing friends, taking in some art and then tomorrow I will run the hills again. Get out and enjoy the day - spring is only two weeks away!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shake it off and move on!

What do the pictures here have in common? All three represent amazing people who are reminders to me of all that can be overcome. All four people in the photos have faced incredible challenges and perservered in their sport of choice. I look at their stories and and realize I can do this; sure it may not be fun, but just another thing to add to my arsenal of war stories.

Amy Palmiero-Winters ran the Cleveland Marathon in 2006 and shattered the world record for female amputees by a staggering 27 minutes. But she didn’t stop there. Just a few months later at the 2006 Chicago Marathon she smashed her own world record by another 22 minutes. But that’s not all. Her time of 3:04 was 12 minutes faster than her personal best from 13 years earlier, before she lost her left leg in a motorcycle accident.

Since then, she has continued to blaze trails for amputees. In October of 2009, she became the first female amputee to finish a 100-mile ultramarathon—the Heartland “Spirit of the Prairie” 100-Mile Endurance Run. But she didn’t just finish the race—she won, beating every able-bodied female, and with the second fastest time in the event’s history. The 37-year-old now has 12 world records to her name in everything from the marathon and 50 miles to 100 miles and triathlons, along with three Triathlon World Championship titles.

Dara Torres you may be more familiar with. She medaled in the Beijing Olympics at an age most said was "too old" - she is in fact the same age I am.

Last I look at Team Hoyt. Rick Hoyt was born in 1962 and as a result of oxygen deprivation to Rick's brain at the time of his birth, Rick was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. Dick and Judy were advised to institutionalize Rick because there was no chance of him recovering, and little hope for Rick to live a "normal" life. This was just the beginning of Dick and Judy's quest for Rick's inclusion in community, sports, education and one day, the workplace.

In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5-mile benefit run for a Lacrosse player who had been paralyzed in an accident. Far from being a long-distance runner, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair and they finished all 5 miles, coming in next to last. That night, Rick told his father, "Dad, when I'm running, it feels like I'm not handicapped."

This realization was just the beginning of what would become over 1,000 races completed, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons (6 of them being Ironman competitions). Also adding to their list of achievements, Dick and Rick biked and ran across the U.S. in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days.

In a triathlon, Dick will pull Rick in a boat with a bungee cord attached to a vest around his waist and to the front of the boat for the swimming stage. For the biking stage, Rick will ride a special two-seater bicycle, and then Dick will push Rick in his custom made running chair (for the running stage).

Rick was once asked, if he could give his father one thing, what would it be? Rick responded, "The thing I'd most like is for my dad to sit in the chair and I would push him for once."

The 2009 Boston Marathon was officially Team Hoyt's 1000th race. Rick always says if it comes down to doing one race a year he would like it to be the Boston Marathon: his favorite race. Dick Hoyt hopes that he is able to push Rick in the Boston Marathon when he is 70 years old (2011)! Neither Dick or Rick are ready to retire yet.

I had the privilege of attending Boston University while Rick was a student there. He went to class everyday. I ran the Hyannis Half this past Sunday and Rick was there, pushed by his dad. I bought their book and as Mr. Hoyt signed it I realized that with the right support team, nothing is impossible.

So the good news is - no chemo, no radiation. Surgery? Maybe. I really liked my doctor who grabbed me as I walked out of the office Monday and said, "Don't lose sleep over this - we can fix it". Like I said, with the right support team, anything is possible - I am looking for a KO for this 2nd round.