Friday, January 21, 2011


...I used to never do it. A girl with big knockers could really hurt herself running, ya know!  Well that was my excuse (invalid) anyway.  

There was a study I read while I was in treatment that said a breast cancer survivor could reduce their risk of recurrence by 45% or more if they exercised in a manner that raised their heart rate for 30 or more minutes six days per week.  Gulp. 

I hadn't been working out for a while since becoming pregnant with Cooper (Oct.'07) due to the 19 weeks of strict bed rest (valid excuse) I had and then the extreme sleep deprivation once my little man was here - his first year was pure survival and it was exercise just staying awake and being functional (so-so valid excuse).   

Anyway, I started changing my lifestyle immediately after being diagnosed. Purged my house of toxic chemicals (cleaning supplies, fragrance products, beauty products - anything that had toxic chemicals in it),  switched over to organic eating, added vitamins and supplements, and much more. The exercise thing was on hold (except for some walks mainly for meditation and fresh air) until after treatment was over (doc-approved excuse). 

Then I had more surgeries and exercise remained on hold for a few more months (valid excuse).

Finally I got into gear and joined a new gym and got off to a great start. Then sort of fizzled out because I was doing some traveling (invalid excuse).

At a recent follow up visit to the oncologist I told Dr.B that I had gotten started but wasn't going as often as I should and he said "exercise is the single most important thing you can do to work toward prevention of a recurrence."   Got it. Enough said.

I've been running just about every day since then. I'm currently traveling and have dragged my butt to the gym every day since arriving. I happily handed over $25 for a week-long pass and as soon as Cooper starts his nap just before/around dinner time (time zone change has been a challenge for him), I grab my gym bag and head over to the gym. Yesterday I ran the longest time and distance I have ever run before - 45 minutes, 3.2 miles. It helped me get out my frustration and anger that I began to express on the blog yesterday. It helped me feel like I was taking back some control.

This is new for me, but it's the new me from now on. This is not some new years resolution that will go awry in a few months time...this is my life now. No more excuses.  I run to live. And I will run to honor God and to fight for me and my sister warriors. 

1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV) Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV) Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies

Thursday, January 20, 2011, seriously, WTF!

This past week I've learned of four new breast cancer diagnoses amongst women I know and care about and friends of close friends. All of them are young women in their 30's and early 40s.  Worst yet, one of my friends who has battled triple negative breast cancer for the past 3+ years has joined her precious daughter in heaven.  This is bullshit and I'm angry. Damn angry.  What the fuck!? No, really, what the FUCK is going on?!

I'm sorry I'm cursing but I can't think of any other word that appropriately expresses how I'm feeling right now. 

One survivor friend of mine has a father who is a gynecologist who asked another gynecologist friend of his in another state if he'd been seeing a high number of young women being diagnosed and his response was a resounding yes and they discussed how they can't believe the rate of this shit appearing among my generation of women.  The doctors are alarmed. I repeat, the doctors are alarmed.  THE DOCTORS ARE ALARMED. Not surprised, ALARMED. Yeah.....

I was in Whole Foods today and I was thinking that by now there HAS to be a hair styling product in the store that doesn't have carcinogens in it....and there it was, a bottle where the name of the manufacturer was something something "organics"....ok let's see, looked at the ingredient list and there was ONE organic ingredient out of about 30 and that one was at the bottom of the list but was preceded by 29 CHEMICALS.

WE ARE POISONING OURSELVES and letting these manufacturers deceive and harm us with their toxic chemicals. Our government is letting this happen by not requiring manufacturers to prove a product or ingredient is safe.  Oh, and if we choose not to consume, use or otherwise expose ourselves to these dangerous toxins we still are bombarded by them in our air and water When are we going to rise up and demand change? When will the voices of those who already do be heard?

I don't panic often but let me tell you I have been on the verge of a panic attack for the past 8 hours since hearing about my friend's passing.

Dear Lord, PLEASE I BEG YOU, PLEASE help us find the cause and the cure. PLEASE, Lord. PLEASE. PLEASE. And please help guide me to live out your plan for my life - to glorify you and to help others find comfort, peace, information...I am your vessel. And did I mention that we need a cure?  Lord, please cradle my friend Theresa's family in your loving and healing light and bring them comfort and peace as they grieve this loss.  Lord, please give my newly diagnosed friend strength, determination and wisdom as she navigates the tests and procedures and treatments that are ahead of her and help her feel your presence and see your miracles and be healed of this disease and to help her family get through it. Amen.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Birthdays - I want LOTS of them :)

Not too many years ago I dreaded my birthday. I don't know why, I just did. I didn't want a fuss made about it and the only time I really celebrated was when family or friends initiated it.  Maybe that's not unusual - I don't know.  I've never dreaded aging either - didn't freak out or worry when I approached 30 or 35 and today as I turned 39 and realized I'm just one year from 40, I could only think "thank you, God!" and "bring on the birthdays!"

Today is my 39th birthday. My husband jokingly said "from here on out you are considered 39 and holding." I suppose a lot of people do that - celebrate 39 or 49 or whatever over and over and stop revealing their age to others whereas some likely don't care. 

Now that I'm a cancer survivor, I want lots and lots and lots of birthdays. I want to celebrate and cherish each one. I want to age! I am excited to turn 40, 45, 50, 55, etc. I will be thrilled to turn 60, 70, 80, even 90.  I pray that the Lord's plan for me includes being here to reach those birthdays so that I may witness my son's birthdays here on earth. 

My love is away working but last night I enjoyed dinner with a dear friend and fellow sister warrior survivor, Tira. We enjoyed sangria and dessert too! My awesome friend, Susan, watched Cooper for a few hours so that I could go out - thank you, Susan!!! 

Today I celebrated by waking up and deciding to take an unplanned vacation day. I don't usually do that so I didn't think to do it ahead of time. But thankfully I work for an awesome employer and team that is supportive and flexible so I was able to do it. Although I hadn't planned to do it, I did have some quiet time over the weekend during which I decided to do some work that normally I would have done today so what's great is that I'm not even behind as I return to work tomorrow. However, if I was that would have been OK too because frankly my priorities are finally in order now. Truth be told, I still did some work today - a little bit of email and participated in a conference call. But I also let Cooper sleep in, played with him at daycare when I dropped him off instead of rushing out, caught up with some friends online, and had an awesome workout at the gym. After picking up Cooper from daycare we headed out to meet my great friend Tara and her son for dinner.  I was flooded with kind and loving birthday wishes on my Facebook wall today.  So, it's been a wonderful day and I'm incredibly grateful for all the love that's been shown to me. I'm so blessed.

Thank you, Lord, for blessing me with another birthday! I welcome them and hope and pray to have many many many more.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

First "real" post-treatment haircut

On Thursday I had my first real (all-over) post-treatment haircut.  This one was "real" because back in October I stopped into a mall salon and had the back trimmed when I woke up and realized I had a 'mullet' (gasp) but didn't have any other sections touched until this past week.

Although my hair has grown pretty quickly this past year, it still feels S-L-O-W since I was starting from scratch (bald). So it was with mixed emotion as I watched about an inch and a half of hair chopped off. I was excited to say goodbye to the chemo-fried hair that plagued the ends of my hair but a bit unnerved to see so much growth fall to the floor.  It's a transition. It's a transition. It's a transition.

I had my friend, and sister in Christ, Kristin, cut it for me. It was my first time getting it cut post-treatment and my first time having Kristin cut my hair and I'm so happy I made that decision because talking to her throughout the cut brought me calm and peace and because she's very talented and did a great job shaping my hair and working around the new cowlick that has appeared at the top front of my head. ;)

Thank you, Kristin, for the great haircut and friendship.Our friendship is new but you inspire me to be a better person and Christian.

Thank you, Lord, for getting me through this and so many other challenges along this journey. I'm so blessed and honored to be entrusted with the powerful responsibility of spreading your good news and using my experience to learn, grow and help others whenever possible.