Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More Than a Woman

58 hours. Or, approximately 2.5 days until I'll be standing at the starting line of of this race that has consumed me, or filled in any spare mental space, for the better part of the past 7 months. Hopefully, I'll be standing there well rested and feeling good.  Hopefully my recent setback of left leg problems will not interfere. Hopefully.

The past 2 weeks has been an interesting and somewhat insightful time for me.  Taper madness is a common thing amongst athletes who have been intensly training and then back off in order to rest for their race. This has defintely entered my situation.

check out this crazy tape job.  yes that is my leg.

I think,  also,  that since I've done an EXTREME taper, I've had even extra time to think about things, and relax a bit, and it's been a good thing.  I've had a bit of time to sort of do a little travel down memory lane. This trip started with a visit to my old gym near our old pink house on the East Side.  We lived there for 10 years and moved out when Ace was 1 and a half.  I loved that house and the location, but we moved out for more space, more yard, better schools, and quieter night sleep.  That house was right next to The University.  I was at the gym in order to attempt some exercise on Sunday, the day after my last post where I was sitting on my couch, opting out of my 15 mile run.  I realized I was still not ready to attempt running, and the only thing I could think of was to attempt aquajogging.  Well, once I AquaFlogged around for about 25 minutes while some creepy old guy was standing in the hot tub staring at my one boob, I decided I'd had enough of that.  This reminded me how I really hated aquajogging. This experience proved to be the opposite of trail running.  It also reminded me in no uncertain terms, that have one breast, and I do not like that, either.  Especially in a bathing suite.   I followed my "work out" with a visit to my old neighborhood coffee shop that I used to love. I had spent many an hour pushing either Adaline, or Ace, or both in a jogging stroller to visit this place...  Cherrywood Coffee House.  I had just enough time to get my coffee and read the latest post on Some Girls Prefer Carnations Blog.  Heather, the author, mentioned that she had recently completed reading a book called "No Less a Woman" which discussed topics of Breast Reconstruction and why or why not women would want to have it done.  I was seconds away from ordering the book online when it occurred to me that this book might  not apply to me because I never really thought of myself as a woman before cancer.  Really.  So  how could the fact that having one breast be threatening my womanhood? The answer is, it's not. I realized immediately that, if anything, I am definately Much MORE of a WOMAN now than I ever was before.   I'd like to think maybe even ... "More Than a Woman", as was so eloquently sung by the Bee Gees back in the late 70's for the album and movie Saturday Night Fever. 

Since we're going down memory lane. 

Please do not take me wrong.  I am not making fun of this book, and I am still interested in reading it. And, just the mention of the book itself has already been helpful to me.
Next stop was an attempt at trail jogging on Tuesday morning.  I skipped my Tuesday Rogue Run for the first time in?? maybe 6 months, so it got me thinking about that, and what an impact that has made in my life over the past year and a half.

My attempt at trail running did not go so well.  It turned into a walk jog, but it was a very nice morning.  It had been raining here and the Barton Creek had water down to the 360 entrance and beyond for the first time in over a year.  This reminded me of my training 2 years ago when the creek was full the whole training season.   It also gave me time to remember my return to attempting to walk jog after my surgery.

My next stop was a  visit to the YMCA for more aquajogging. This time with my training partner and friend Lisa who is also struggling with a leg irritation herself.  (Otherwise why in the Hell would she be aquajogging?)  This stop helped me realize once again, how much friendship plays a role in a person's ability to complete difficult tasks, and difficult life situations, and even make them enjoyable.  60 minute aquajog completed :) 

Lisa and me outside Hill of Life after surgery.

My Saturday attempt at a long run of 8 miles went O.K. regarding the leg. Some foot issues, but not really much worse.  More importantly, I enjoyed every minute of the time out on the trail.  I started later than usual (Than EVER really) due to the fact that i had gone out the night before to see Downtube Shifter ROCK the Carousel lounge.  I also got to run with my friend Cindy again.  This run really brought things full circle for me.  Cindy had been there with me at the start.  As I was scraping my way back to the trail during chemotherapy. And again after surgery and radiation.

I was weak and bald, and it was oh so dry and hot.
Me and Cindy during Chemo

And again after surgery.

Me at Hill of Life After Surgery

Now, my hair is out of control and the water was in the creek in places she'd never seen it.  It was like we were kids out exploring an area for the first time, despite the fact that i've logged literally hundreds of miles there.

Me last this past weekend at Barton Creek

During our run we ran into Lisa and Jack, the two people I've done the bulk of this training season with.  This was the perfect place for us all to reunite, discuss the race a bit and  have some laughs about our own selves.

Me, Jack, Lisa

 "This Fanny Pack is SaWeet!"  Only a trail runner would say that, Jack!

The next week I found myself back in another one of my old neighborhoods, and now aquajogging at the crack of dawn outside at this outdoor pool that I used to walk across the street to go swimming in.

I found myself actually "enjoying" this aquajog.
This new affinity for aquajogging, and this.. "sign"...,

 I've taken as proof that people, and things, can change, or improve in a matter of days.

Spring is now in the air here.  Richie's band Downtube Shifter just secured a show during the South By Southwest Music Festival on Saturday night at 6:00.  You know me....This reminded me of last year's SXSW show and how all my friends came out wearing Tube Tops to support DownTube Shifter and to support me on the eve of my first Mastectomy. 

SXSW 2010 TubeTop Extravaganza

Richie March 2012

If you are good at puzzles, you've probably already figured out where I'm going with all this.  I've just gotten off of the phone with the nurse for the plastic surgeon.  She is working on scheduling my left mastectomy and bilateral reconstruction.  This surgery will be planned for sometime in the first half of April, on a date that both the regular surgeon, and the plastic surgeon can get together at a hospital that we can all agree on.  It has already been scheduled once, with my old surgeon, who I actually do like very much.  He wouldn't,  or couldn't go to the more preferred hospital, so now i'm choosing to change surgeons and have the surgery performed at a different hospital. 

I'll end with the fact that this taper has also given me the opportunity to spend some more fun time with the family.  I know I've mentioned it before, but I have super cute kids:

I don't know where he gets it.

I would say wish me Luck, but it is clear that I already have it. :)


  1. First of all, let me remind you that there is NOTHING wrong with walkjogging! There is so much to love about this post. Well worth the time ;)

  2. Good luck in the race tomorrow, Emily!

    Just FYI, the book No less a Woman has a fantastic title, but it not actually very philosophical and didn't get me any closer to defining womanhood. The book is a collection of essays by various women, followed by a self-help section. It is interesting in terms of surveying all of the different ways women cope with cancer, but provided nothing deeper. I was looking for something deeper, which is why I'm not giving it a ringing endorsement. :) You must be thrilled to have scheduled your reconstruction! I'm so happy that you are getting closer to that goal!