Challenging myself

I’ve decided to challenge myself to run The Hard Cider Run that’s coming up at Uncle John’s Cider Mill on May 21.

Hard Cider RunHard Cider Run


I haven’t been able to run since I first found the lump in April. There was no way I could have run during chemo, recovery from the mastectomy, and now radiation- as they won’t allow me to do any activity that would make my arm rub against the side of my chest (so no rowing machine, no running, etc). I thought about skirting the rules and doing it anyway, but each day my chest and armpit gets a little more tender, so I decided it would be best to wait. 😦  My last radiation treatment (assuming no delays) should be January 26th, so it’s only a couple more weeks.

Right now I am carrying a lot of extra weight from not being able to be very active all this time, and I am sure my asthma will flare up. But I’m not challenging myself to run fast or place like the last run I did a couple years ago (I placed 4th in my age class in that one 🙂 ) My challenge is just to run it. For me it will be one of those “getting back to normal” things. Being me.

Of course, my normal has changed. My life and body has forever been changed by cancer, but I am gravitating towards my new normal. The post-cancer me. That’s the one thing cancer gives you, its “free” gift – a long hard look at your life and who you’ve become. I’ve learned a lot about just letting things be. I get anxious about things so much, and I’ve finally come to some peace with that. I still worry, but I find ways to calm myself and put it into perspective. Another gift from cancer – perspective. Does what is bothering you really matter in the whole scheme of things?

I’ve had people tell me that before when I was anxious, and it never worked for me back then. Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m worried about, so putting it in perspective seems impossible. What I’ve done instead is put the fact that I have anxiety in perspective. Worrying = time and energy wasted. That’s enough now to help me release the anxiety (sometimes it requires a little exercise too but that’s okay 😉 ). Like I’ve said before, worrying in May didn’t change that I had cancer – it just caused me a lot of sleepless nights and distracted days. If my life threatening illness ever turns into a terminal one, God forbid, I certainly don’t want to have wasted my precious time sitting around worrying about something that I can’t change.

So instead, I try to spend my time enjoying my life, enjoying my family and friends. I’m working on doing a lot less complaining (except for gripes about feeling crappy and sore… sorry, I’m working on that too!).  I play with my kids, read to them, write. Things that I used to feel too busy or stressed to do. I had too many other things that needed doing. Not anymore 🙂

Anyway, back to my original point. After my daily radiation treatments end, I am going to start building back up my running. Obviously, I’ll be slow and have to do short runs, and build up slowly, but it will be good for me both physically and mentally.

So, I am planning to run The Hard Cider Run on May 21st this year and I would love it if anyone wants to join me 🙂 I won’t be running fast, but I’ll be running, which is something I couldn’t even consider for the past 8 months. I’ll be the one wearing the “Cancer is a big fat Doodiehead” shirt (assuming it’s long enough to cover my rear 😀 )





Why is there a urinal in the women’s restroom?

I am back to work. Because I have been in and out of the office so much, I have a ton of work that had been hanging out waiting for me to take it up again. Therefore, I am very busy and running around             like crazy most days.

The bathroom at my end of the building was temporarily closed for a while today for some maintenance work. So as I was running from one meeting to the other, I decided to quickly use the restroom at the other end of the building.

I ran in, set my notebook and phone on the sink counter and turned to see that the stall doors and walls were brown. Well, I’ve been accused by my husband of not noticing things, and I tell you – I can usually tell that something is different, I just can’t determine what things used to be like. So, I figured maybe they’d done some renovation in here since the last time I’d used the bathroom at this end.

And then I noticed the extra sink on the wall. It was really tall. It was… well, a urinal. And I admit, it took me a second of wondering why they would bother to add a urinal to the women’s restroom before I realized that the shoes that I could see under the stall door were men’s shoes… That’s when I remembered that the bathrooms at one end  were true mirrors of the bathrooms at the other end, so the men’s room on the right at one end was on the left on the other end. 😐

Luckily I was able to grab my stuff and get out the door before 1) stall guy finished his business and came out, and 2) another man entered the bathroom. Luckily, the hall was empty as I did my red-faced dash out the door and into the actual women’s restroom next door!

image Yikes!

Future architects, take note. It would be really nice if when you have bathrooms at both ends of the building that you make the women’s room always on the same side of the men’s room so both ends match. I had a similar issue back in 1985 (also at MSU) at one of the classrooms on campus. Unfortunately that time, I noticed the urinal immediately because there was a man standing there using it at the time. Not sure who was more embarrassed between the two of us 😀

So, I am on Day 11 of my radiation treatments. Other than being inconvenient (I go every weekday), they are not too terrible. The worst part is having to lay absolutely still on that hard flat uncomfortable surface for so long. Some days my armpit and shoulder are so uncomfortable, it feels like I just may not make it through without moving that day. That’s when I have to force myself to try to meditate. I try to take my mind elsewhere and relax as much as possible. Sometimes it works, sometimes I just lay there near tears waiting for the torture to end. The last few days, with the cold temperatures outside, my skin has been super dry, leading to many minutes of trying to lay there still and not scratch the 1,001 itches that only appear when I know I am not supposed to move.

I am just starting to get to the point in my treatments (almost halfway through) that I am expected to see many side effects. I am already fatigued (of course I am always that) and pretty much since Day 5, my chest and armpit are increasingly tender and sore. They had warned that the radiation would inflame the healing tissue and nerves, causing spasms and shooting pains.

It is certainly not as bad as post-surgery, and so far I only have a little “pinkness” (like a sunburn) but as I said the tenderness is increasing with each treatment. Still I think back on how I felt even just a couple weeks ago – the pain, the stiffness, and discomfort from the surgery and I remember how far I’ve come. A long, long way.