Fun fact: Throughout my childhood/early adulthood, I dabbled in many sports. Swimming, bowling, basketball, track and field, cross country, cheerleading, dance squad, crew. I did not excel in any of these sports, as a matter of fact, I performed just well enough in most of these to stay on the team until I became interested in something else.
The most comical of these was cross country, only due to my motivation for joining the team. In my high school, two sport athletes were exempt from gym. While I was actively involved in my dance team my junior year and cheerleading my senior year, they did not count as a "sport". Even more comical was that marching band (of which I was a member all 4 years) did. Explain that logic!
Anyway, my junior year of high school I badly wanted a study hall (yes, I'm a nerd) and the only way to accomplish that was to find a way out of gym.
So I joined the cross country team.
I will pause while that sinks in a minute. I WILLINGLY signed up to run hundreds of MILES in order to get out of 50 mins of "gym" three days a week. In every other sport I had played, coach made us run as punishment. Now I was doing it for fun.
It took me a while to gain endurance but throughout the season, my coach taught me a lot about running long distances. In races, he would always push us to "attack the hills", as that was the best time to pass an opponent, since most runners will slow down as the hill gets tougher. He also told us to use the downhills to catch our breath and prepare for the next hill. And most importantly, he always would yell (nicely) at us to finish strong, leave everything we had at the finish line.
I have carried these lessons with me as an adult and while I don't consider myself an expert runner, it has proven to be a great way to clear a cluttered mind.
Yesterday, we learned my cancer was indeed triple negative and my chemo plan would be:
- 4 cycles of Adriamycin, lovingly referred to as the "red devil", given IV once every 2 weeks. Most common side effects are nausea, fatigue, hair loss, constipation and mouth sores.
- 4 cycles of Cyclophosphamide, given IV once every 2 weeks, side effects are similar to Adriamycin
- 12 cycles of Taxol, given IV once every week. We will switch to this once my 4 cycles of the other two are done. I am told the side effects of this medication aren't nearly as bad.
- In addition to these medications IV, I also have a whole host of other meds used to help combat the side effects. To be sure I am taking the right meds at the right time, I added it to our family calendar on the fridge:
Also, this happened yesterday:
We are now on the 3 week countdown to total hair loss, which I am predicting to be somewhere around Aug. 20-21. Which means I may not leave the house for a few days until I figure out how to tie a scarf. Anyone want to give me lessons?
Ultimately, I am really trying to keep a positive mindset through all of this (the power of positive thinking, right?). Yes, I have times when I am sad. Yes, this feels like some really crappy dream that I will snap out of any minute. Yes, I get mad that this has to happen to me and my family.
But friends, it's time to ATTACK THE HILL. To lean in, and push to the top, even when my muscles burn and my lungs are on fire. I can coast on the way down when its easy and save up that last shred of energy to finish strong.
So I'm lacing up my running shoes and hitting the open road, taking this race down. One hill at a time.