Put A Cork In It!

Well…it’s done.

It didn’t necessarily go as planned (way too hot out for me), took me a lot longer than I had hoped (grrrr!)…but it was still an amazing experience.  To be cheered along from start to finish with people yelling your name, thanking you, giving you high-fives and snacks along the way – it was truly wonderful in those regards.

And I had a little guardian angel, Jen, running with me – a fellow cancer survivor who entered my life only a few short weeks ago when we met doing our 20-mile training run…without her by my side, I would have walked so much more, struggled so much more.  Our mission was the same: FINISH.  We joked that the amount of time we spent running the marathon was the same amount of time it takes for one chemo infusion…and we agreed that we’d both rather be running in too-hot conditions than to be getting another round of chemo.

Jen and I also agreed that running this marathon served multiple purposes, the most important of which was to put a cork in the bottle we both call “Cancer”, and to now toss it far into the ocean…hopefully to never return to shore again.

Without the support from each of you that are reading this, I would not have been able to run this marathon.  For that, I’m eternally grateful.  As much as you all say I’m “amazing” and an “inspiration”…it’s thanks to your love and support that has made it all possible.

Having cancer sucked, don’t get me wrong – but it allowed me to see and appreciate the love from my family and friends.  Now THAT, is priceless.  And I wouldn’t change it for anything.

XO

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#GivingTuesday

Hi, everyone!

Did you know it’s #GivingTuesday today??  The largest fundraising day of the year??  Do you need to get those end-of-year tax write-offs in???  Or maybe support your favorite cancer-surviving, hill-eating, butt-kicking friend???

Well then, I’ve got just what you need! 🙂

I’m posting the link to my Boston Marathon fundraising page again, just in case you’re feeling motivated to make your donation today.  Any amount is greatly appreciated, and will bring me that much closer to my goal of $6,000.  I’m already at $1,560…AMAZING!!  Huge, huge thanks to those who have already donated – it means the world to me.

Here’s to a healthy, happy holiday season ahead!

xo

 

Gulp.

But it’s a good “gulp”, I promise!

Remember those hills I waxed so eloquently on way back when?  How I “eat hills for breakfast”, and “it’s just a hill, get over it”??  Boy, am I going to be eating those words over the next few months.

Until April 17th, 2017, to be exact.  The 121st running of the Boston Marathon.  You’ve heard of Heartbreak Hill, right??  GULP.

On a whim, I submitted an application to Mass General’s Marathon team…and don’t you know it…they accepted me.  For their Pediatric Oncology Team.

So, I’m excited and a little scared…I’ve run the Boston Marathon once before in 2005 when it was 93 degrees…but that was 12 years ago, before kids, before cancer…gulp-itty-gulp-gulp-gulp!

If you’re so inclined, please feel free to visit my fundraising page to read my blurb on why I’m running, and to see some pics from the last year:

I plan to keep posting here to report my progress with my long runs, not only for accountability but hopefully for some support from my biggest fans – YOU GUYS!!  It helped me so much throughout last year, and I know it will help me with the long miles (and hills!) ahead.

Here’s to a mild winter and a cool, cloudy day on 4.17.17!

XO

My 41st Chapter: The New Normal

Well, I turned 41 a few weeks ago.  It’s amazing to me that one year ago, after turning 40 and getting my first mammogram, that everything would turn out the way it did.

I went back to work on February 1st, and have slowly ramped up to full-time again.  I was tired, soooooo tired, but being back at work has made me realize how much I enjoy what I do: taking care of OTHER people, being on the OTHER side of the exam table.  Phew, it feels good to not be the patient anymore.

Some of my patients have actually cried when they saw me again, which was incredible.  And some people have said stupid comments, but they are few and far between.  My favorite so far has been this, said to me by one of my male patients: “Oh, you don’t have nipples anymore?  Your poor husband!”.  Really??  Wow.

This next chapter of Me is definitely different, and I don’t think I’ve quite figured it out yet.  I hope to go to a support group for cancer survivors to get some guidance and reassurance on moving forward.  I certainly have a new appreciation for savoring the small moments in life, and trying not to sweat the small stuff – we all need to follow those adages, life’s just too short.

That’s something I’ve definitely noticed in getting back to “new” normal….life is just so…FAST.  I’ve been back at work for two months now and literally haven’t had a moment to write a post, even though I’ve been meaning to do so for weeks.  The only reason I’m able to sit down and do this today is because my car is getting an oil change and new tires.  Otherwise I’d be out flitting about doing the usual errands.

Life has also been seeming very REAL lately.  As in big (both good and not-so-good) things happening to people I know.  One friend lost her brother-in-law suddenly.  Another friend donated her kidney (to a stranger!!).  Several friends or their family members are battling depression.  My sister and another friend are about to have babies.  All these things are just so powerful, for different (and obvious) reasons.  They’re just so…REAL.

What’s the point of my post today?  I’m still not sure….Live in the moment?  Tell your loved ones how much you care about them?  Be good to yourself?

Appreciate every moment and don’t sweat the small stuff, that’s what I’m going with for now.  The rest will fall into place, I have faith in that much.

Another positive note on which I’ll end – a delicious recipe!  It’s vegan, it’s amazing.  You don’t need an Inspiralizer to make this.  It calls for rutabaga, but I found butternut squash “noodles” at the grocery store.  I also roasted broccoli and mushrooms instead of the tomatoes.  You could use this sauce on regular pasta of any sort, throw in whatever veggies you wanted, or top with your choice of protein (although the sauce is quite rich because it’s cashew-based):

http://inspiralized.com/2016/03/28/creamy-spiralized-rutabaga-with-burst-cherry-tomatoes/

Bon Appetit, my friends!!

XO

And that, my friends, is a wrap…

Or maybe I should have called this post “For whom the bell tolls”…because today, the bell was all mine:

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And of course I was lucky enough to have one of my besties with me:

Then we met yet another one of my besties, and did the only appropriate thing:

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I’ve crossed the finish line of my nine-month ultra-marathon.  It’s done.  Over.  Kaput.

I’m sure I’ll have more reflections and something more poignant to say/write in the coming days and weeks…

But for right now, I’m going to go enjoy that Prosecco.

Cheers, XOXOXO!!!!  🙂

Badda-bing!

And just like that, I’m halfway through radiation…HOORAY!

Also, as promised, here are pictures of the radiation machine and the beautiful ceiling in the treatment room:

The past few weeks have been a blur, really, the highlights of which were Christmas and currently, vacation week (at least the kids think this is a highlight!).  I hope that you all had safe and wonderful holidays with your loved ones.

Tomorrow is the last day of 2015, and boy am I ready to bid this year ADIEU.  Looking back on it though, I am so grateful for all the love and support from every one of you.  This is how I will choose to remember 2015: not the surgeries (ahem, cardiac arrest!), chemo, radiation, etc…but the incredible response from people in all facets of my life, and from the new friends I met through the year.  It was truly amazing in this regard, and I feel blessed and lucky for it all.

So adios, 2015!  I can’t wait to see what 2016 will bring 🙂

XO

Surprise!

I had my first radiation treatment today!  Before anyone gets in a tizzy, I wasn’t expecting it to start today, either.  Today was supposed to be the follow-up from my appointment two weeks ago, to do additional measurements and possibly more tattoos.  Apparently all the calculations and physics worked out the way they were supposed to though, hence I was able to get my first treatment today.  I’m hoping to take a few pics of the machine I have to lie in, as well as the ceiling I get to look at while I’m sitting there (it’s pretty!).

Radiation is quite simple, actually.  The only thing I have to do for 10-15 minutes is lie still and breathe normally.  Well, that sounds easy…until you get an itch on your nose (which I did today), so you have to get all Zen and figure out how to ignore the nose itch while your hands are going numb from being raised over your head 🙂

The past two weeks really felt like I was in limbo though…healed enough from the surgery to feel “normal”, but then waiting for radiation to start.  Ya’ll know how much I like waiting, right??

On the way home from Emerson today, I heard Adele’s new song, “Hello”.  I laughed as it occurred to me that my body and I should be singing this song to each other.  I really feel like I treated my body well, and it betrayed me with cancer.  As I’m going through the last part of my treatments, and with the help of a “Life After Cancer” book, I realize that I will have to forge a new “me” moving forward.  My body and I will have to figure out our new relationship as well.  I’m sure there will be bumps in the road along the way, but I am most certainly changed from this experience.

The boys and I were watching video that we took from last Christmas of all of us opening our gifts.  I looked at myself and thought, “Wow, I didn’t have a clue what was coming”.  It’s interesting to look at things like that now – I don’t think it’s a bad thing, just an interesting new perspective that I have.

I think it’s safe to say that I’m going to savor the precious moments I have with my loved ones, and I’ll try not to sweat the little annoyances…you can be sure to remind me of this if you ever think I’m getting off track…

But for now, it’s ONE DOWN and 27 TO GO!

I will probably let you know how things are going every week or so as I move through these treatments.  In the meantime, I’m sending much love to you all and hope that you are happy, healthy and safe this holiday season!

XOXO