Saturday, March 19, 2011

Words With Friends....Part Two: Run Like Hell

This Tuesday morning, I WWF’d, Scrabbled and Jumble Lite ‘d (Anagram word game …Thank you Margaret) my ass off  in order NOT to Scream, Cry or “Go Chemo” on someone..  Let me back up. 
My morning couldn’t have started out better.  I was back to my Tuesday morning running group.  Yes, I had to miss last week (1 miss out of 12 weeks this round…not bad) due to vomiting then chest congestion illness.  But, I was back with a vengeance by Tuesday.  It was great.  It was perfect weather for me.  High 40s/low 50s.  I actually ran with my old POD (that’s what I call my group of people who consistently run together) for about 38 minutes, then, I turned back, in order to avoid overdoing it.  I felt like I could have kept going, due to my increased RBC count, but knew I should not, due to deconditioned muscles and joints. So I turned, and I was able to keep the pace for most of the way back.  Total time of 80 minutes with run time of 75 minutes, at a decent pace.  No push, but not slogging.    My goal for the end of these 2 rounds of chemo was to be able to still run 6 miles on my long run.  I did do that even the last week of Taxol, but I wanted to make sure that I could still do it even after being ill for a whole week.   It was very important to me to make it this Tuesday, being the last Tuesday before my (first) surgery.  Last week, despite being ill, missing 2 days of work, my Tuesday run, and chemo, I did sneak in 2 yoga sessions and 2 very short and easy runs.  Photos of my Sunday run were posted earlier, from my phone. It was a nice run as you can see.  My 30 minute trail wolg  (Like slog but slower, closer to walking) was also very nice and, a bit emotional.  I took this photo, because I thought..…this might be the last time I wear this shirt on the trail, or even need a jog bra for a while.

But, as it turns out, I did do another trail run with Lisa at my Hill of Life ( I love that I get to run at a Place called Hill of Life) on Thursday, and another again today with Cindy R.  So, I’ve gotton to run with all my closest running buddies in one week! J.  It would have been cool if I could have made it out to Tejas Trails this week, but, I got to spend the day at SXSW with Richie J. 
After the Tuesday run, my friend Chuck had helped me plan a more special than usual post run breakfast at Annie’s downtown.   I really wanted to spend a nice morning with the people that I have been having Tuesday breakfast with off and on for the past 24 weeks.  It was great.  The core group and most of the supporting cast showed up.  Also our coach John Schrup made it and we had the chance to make a special toast to him.  I had wanted to make a point of thanking him for taking such a personal interest in his runners, which actually included me all this time, despite my inability to truly train.   I had written a little article and submitted it to the local FIT magazine a few months ago that was an attempt to thank all of the running groups I had been in over the past few years, and the recent support I have received from my current Team Rogue group.    I did finally receive an email back from the magazine and they said that they want to use my idea in August in an issue that I believe would suit the idea just right.  I won’t divulge more, in case they do end up using it.   Anyway, I wanted to thank Schrup more personally, and sooner than August, and in case it ends up not happening.  So, breakfast was great, the company was great, and I gained one more WWF Friend J.  I’ve now got 6.  AND interestingly, All 3 of the Cindy’s that I hang around with, are currently beating me.
But as they say, all good things must come to an end.  Who said that? That is simply rude.  Anyway, breakfast was over, so then I was off to the pre-surgical office visit with the Surgeon.  Dr. H. Lamar Jones.  He seems like a nice enough guy.  And, he seems like he would be good at surgery.  I don’t really know what makes someone seem good at that, but he does. I expressed my concern with the surgery being scheduled at 2:00 in the afternoon and that I, myself start going downhill around 2:00.  He assured me that those are normal working hours and he would be fine.  I said “O.K. you’re the one that matters…As long as you feel good about it.”  We proceeded to discuss the upcoming surgery and he mentioned that he recommended that we only do the mastectomy on the right side this time around.  That we wait to complete the mastectomy on the left at the time of the reconstruction.   I, initially, of course, think this is some sort of trick.  Some way, to somehow, screw me in the long run.  After he explained that it’s best if the left side only has one surgery, it made more sense.  We are only waiting on the reconstruction on the right due to the radiation.   The left side is not being radiated.  If i didn’t have to radiate the right side, we would be doing reconstruction right away.  Despite the fact that it all sounded reasonable, I still struggled with the fact that it was different than what I was expecting.  It is still very difficult for me to adjust my mindset. Even now after it’s been pounded in my head, and punched in my face, over and over during this treatment, that nothing is set in stone, or even semi predictable.  Next we discussed the sentinel node biopsy.  He said that because the original biopsy of the nodes did show cancer in the nodes, that they will need to go ahead and take out the first “level” of nodes and maybe even part of the second level, even if we did do a sentinel node biopsy, and it showed no cancer (Which it likely would, because the MRI showed no cancer).   At this point we pretty much expect that we would not see any cancer in the biopsy, but he would still have to recommend taking them out due to the fact that it was originally there, and the original nature of the cancer was aggressive.  I need a bit more time to digest all of that.  Now off to make it on time to my 10:45 chemo treatment.  No doctor visit.  Only the “30” minute Herceptin. 
I waited in the waiting room for an hour.  Played all my goes at Words with Friends and several rounds of Jumble Lite…. made it to level 8.  It's amazing the power of anxiety. Then, they called me back to the infusion room.  One more hour passed...i typed that like it came easy.... and then the nurse came over to begin to hook me up.    She showed me the meds which looked significantly larger than usual.  I asked her about the dosage and she stated it was the triple dose.  I corrected her in that I was to complete the 12th single dose this week, since I missed last week and then start the triple dose in three weeks, as recommended by the oncologist.  Plus, I did not want to begin a triple dose within 1 week of the surgery, in case it was not the “breeze” that they have said it would be.  My predecessor at work has told me that the triple dose Herceptin killed her…..i had that on my mind as they were telling me again it would be a breeze.   I was finally hooked up and dripping by 1:15 and out of there by 2:15.  Only 3.5 hours for what was supposed to take 30 minutes.  I was only 2 hours later to work than expected.  For some of you this might not seem so bad, but for me this is torture. (Refer to control issues).  Sitting and not doing anything is very challenging for me.  Yoga is a good start, but as my friend Chuck pointed after our “very slow” yoga class that I really need to continue to learn more patience by backing off of the more intense classes and do more of this type of mind/body thing and relaxation.  OK. “Done, I said.  But really that was only because I have surgery on Monday, so I really can’t take credit for that mature choice.
As I mentioned, I’m calling this phase Words with Friends.  Initially in honor of my introduction to this awesome iphone scrabble game, but also because I wanted to take extra time with family and friends.  I feel I’ve been successful.  I’ve mentioned all the running dates I’ve had, but also last weekend I spent time with my family doing what we love best,

and this weekend spending time with my BF from high school Amy VB.  To top off the weekend we have the Downtube Shifter SXSW tube top extravaganza, where I will see many of my friends from in and out of town alike! 
Recently, during words with one of my newest (yet most mature at age 90) friends, she asked me…What are you going to do after all of this chemo and surgery?”  While I realized at that moment that I had not really had too much time to think about that, I stated without hesitation, and with strong intention…. “Run Like Hell”….and I had a Forrest Gump like vision in my head.
Surgery is still scheduled for Monday at 2:00.  Unless, something changes, or i change my mind. 


  1. We will send up a prayer for you tomorrow at 2:00pm. I'm sure the surgery will go well. I do appreciate you keeping us up to date in your blog. I look forward to your future blogs where we get to read about you running like hell in your Forrest Gump type runs! :)

  2. Emily

    Will be praying for you today!

    Angela "Mays" Haley