Moving on…a little

Today we head to the school where Cass will begin Kindergarden in a few short months.  Apparently it’s Kindergarden Bingo night.  Should be interesting.  

It’s nice to be thinking ahead.  There have been a few chunks of time recently where I have actually forgotten I had cancer.  When I was standing along the marathon route craning my neck to spot my husband chugging along, cheering with friends, that whole time, I totally forgot about cancer.  I was in a meeting that got heated recently.  No cancer on the brain for a while.  Someone said something that irritated me recently and I found myself mulling it over.  (For the past 6 months that stuff didn’t even hit my radar – I just dismissed it as totally unimportant.)  I woke up the other day and it was a solid 20 minutes before my mind went there / to Cancer Town.
It’s almost like grief – nothing seems to alleviate it for the longest time.  But then one day, you cautiously realize the pain is a tiny bit smaller.   
Not long ago I really wondered if it would ever not be on my mind.  And yet, here I am, with my mind just relaxed enough to worry about some other crap for a while.  It’s nice.
One moment recently that definitely had me thinking about cancer was when I crossed the finish line for the 5K I ran this past weekend.  A race I trained for while undergoing chemo.  But the way I was thinking about cancer was good.  Triumphant.  Fearless.  Defiant.  Those feelings won’t be how I feel forever.  But they ruled the day.  And they were awesome.  

Today, I ran

Today I ran a 5k.  That isn’t all that impressive in and of itself considering the number of people I know who regularly run full and half marathons.  And I’ve run in 5 races prior, so it’s not my first time.  But for me it’s a huge deal.

For one, I’m not great at running.  At my physical peak, I’m built like a mediocre swimmer, not a runner.  And I’m not at my physical peak.  Because I’m 36, I like pizza and I’ve had poison in my body for the past 6 months.  
But I decided to run.  Because I wanted to show cancer and whoever is paying attention that I could do anyhing I decided to do.  So I trained.  And I trudged.  And I did it even though it hurt and once actually made me barf. That might have been the chemo.  But, I puked and got back on the treadmill.  My feet go numb unless I’m barefoot and they hurt when I walk a lot.  And running is worse.  But I don’t care.  
I ran today.  And it rocked.  I mean, the hills sucked and I wanted to die a couple times.  And I was slow.  Only a few hundred people out of the 1600 timed runners finished after us – hey, I’ll take it – if the lions were chasing us, they would have had to eat like 350 people before they got to me.  (You don’t have to be the fastest – just don’t be the slowest, I always say.)
I ran today and I was inspired.  You see, at the back of the pack is where the inspiration is.  People are slow and jiggly and sweaty and red faced and it freaking rocks!  Those gazelle like creatures at the front, they are awesome too but it comes naturally.  Look at us back here!  I’m not the most compassionate or sensitive person, but damn, I love the under dog in a 5k race.  I love the older ladies scurrying along, the huge person moving forward by sheer will.  The 9 year old in their first race.  The guy with the knee brace.  The girl with big boobs who just finished chemo.  šŸ™‚  We are fantastic.  
The whole time, I want to shout “look at us!  We’re doing it!  We rock!” 
And the supporters.  OMG.  You people and your handwritten signs and high fives and cow bells and “the finish line is right around the corner!” shouts!  I love you. I tear up when I see a kid on Daddy’s shoulders with a sign that says “Go Mommy!”  Damned right.  Go, Mommy.
My own kid stood on the corner, waiting, cheering for me.  That’s an amazing feeling – your child seeing you achieve something important.  
I ran today and I wanted to kiss Pittsburgh on the mouth.  The city is beautiful during a race.  The rivers shimmer a little more and the buildings sparkle.  Such a show off, Pittsburgh.  Such a flirt.  
In a race, it’s like we’re all in this together.  We all want each other to do well.  The whole city wants us to do well.  Maybe the whole world.  It feels like it, anyway.
Today was a challenge.  I loved it.  When’s our next race, friends?

Fighting cancer and homelessness

Running has always been this elusive sport for me.  I’ve always been reasonably competent at any sport I’ve spent time playing.  I can hit the occasional 3 pointer in basketball and I can probably beat most of you in a swimming race.  But this body just isn’t designed for running.  Which is what makes me want to run.

I started running 5k races about two years ago.  I trained with an iPhone app and did ok.  I completed 5 races in about 18 months.  Some of them, I walked some of the way.  Those hills just kill me!!  

When my health problems became apparent, I backed off of the running.  When the surgeries began, I had to quit entirely.  I spent the whole autumn season retired from anything more than a walk around the block here and there.  When the chemo began, even that became impossible, partly due to fatigue and partly due to the cold becoming totally intolerable. So I’ve shifted from running to chemo treatments, lounging and cat snuggling.


I started to get really sick of this crap.  So I set a goal.  I would, come hell or high water, do the 5k of the Pittsburgh Marathon.  
The race commences four weeks after my (hopefully) final IV infusion and  two weeks after my (hopefully) final dose of chemo pills are swallowed.  This means I have to train while I’m getting chemo.
This is both exhilarating and terrifying.  What a badass thing to do!  What if I fail?  What if I have to crawl across the finish line?  
You know what, though?  I choose to reject fear and live out of hope.  The belief that by God’s grace and my determination and the support of those who love me, I WILL DO THIS.
I’m determined.  Look how fiercely determined my eye is.

Here’s the other cool part.  You can help in a big way.  By making a donation to my fundraising page you will 1. Motivate and encourage me.  And 2. Support my cause of choice – Light of Life Rescue Mission where lives of poor and homeless men, women and children are turned around daily.  
Here is the link.  If you can’t click it, just copy and paste into your browser.
I am asking for your support.  It’s a good cause.
Also?  At this moment I am the TOP fundraiser for the entire marathon!!  Let’s see how long I can hold the title!!

Outrunning Cancer

Of course you can’t outrun cancer.  But running while you’re attempting to kick the crap out of cancer is an interesting challenge.  I’ve decided to sign up for the Pittsburgh Marathon’s 5k.  This race takes place at the beginning of May.  My treatments end in the middle of April.  So, I have to train now.  While getting chemo.  

I’m exhausted, just thinking about it.  This might be a bad idea.
But it’s not.  Because physical activity, while it feels like the last thing in the world one wants to do, is actually good for cancer patients.  Many simply don’t feel up to it.  I don’t feel up to it.  But I’m going to do it anyway.
Running is hard for me.  Even in optimal health.  I am a woman of some stature and, let’s just say it, boobs.  When I run, it’s not pretty.  I kind of trudge along.  There is a lot of jiggling.  You could probably beat me in a race on a pogo stick.  Or walking fast.  But whatever.  I run.  
Yesterday I ran/walked (mostly walked) one mile.  It was hard.  I was tired. My body protested.  And I’m in the best part of my chemo cycle right now. I am feeling anxious, imagining three days post chemo, shaky and nauseous, climbing onto that treadmill.  But you know what?  I’m going to do it.
Want to help me?  One of the ways I can employ my aversion to public shame as a motivation tool is to invite you to support my effort by making a contribution.  I’m raising funds for the very excellent Light of Life Rescue Mission as I kick cancer, fear and doubt in the backside.  Would you encourage me by making a donation?
The more money I raise, the more determined I’ll be to cross that finish line even if I have to crawl.  Thanks for your support.