Thursday, July 1, 2010

The check has been presented!

Finally, I was able to present the check for $6450 to Dr. O'Connor. The true people who helped are everyone who donated money, time, resources--and there were many people.

Dr. O'Connor already has 20 women in her study and can now hire someone to help manage the interviews, paperwork, and programs. Once she gets 35 people, she will write large grants. I am such a fan of this research that I am very honored to have helped in some small way. I can't wait to see the results of the research. I truly believe it will impact these women's lives. The true people who helped are everyone who donated money, time, resources--and there were many people.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Last day

So I am currently sitting in a chair receiving my last herceptin treatment. I hope I didn't insult the wonderful nurses by telling them I really hoped I never saw them again (at least in this setting)! I am happy to have the procedures over, but it also makes you nervous as now you know it's up to your body to keep you healthy, and obviously my body hasn't been very successful doing that.

Now I am on to other things. Lauren's baby is going to arrive at any time. I am going to go down to Maryland to help out when he comes. Tommy will be my partner-in-crime as we explore the zoo and other places. We will have so much fun together. From there, Bob and I are going to continue heading south to check out Charleston and Savannah. We will also stop and see his brother in Aiken, SC and head over the border to Washington, GA--the site of my first teaching job in 1979. It was a very old and beautiful town, but still so very segregated back then. I'm interested to see how it has changed. We just like to wander while on vacation--no real specific destinations/timeline. We always have fun!

I continue to run--am back to my routine schedule of about 10 miles 5-6 days a week. I also cycle as often as possible. We've had more rain in the last couple weeks then anything, but hopefully summer will soon kick in.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Marathon Pictures

The first is a shot of the starting line with an insert of me finishing. This was from official pictures of the race. The second is mine and my parents' back with the shirts we wore on race day (you can see a little of Bob's arm). My skin was so pale then. Now it is leathery and peeling from the sunburn I got during the run.

I was back running easy yesterday and today. I can tell I'm not fully recovered, but my legs don't hurt at all; they are just heavy. The Susan G. Komen race is this weekend. Bob and I are volunteering at it, not running. I plan to take a (long) break from racing, seeing as I can't run hard anyway. Last herceptin is next week; then my heart can start to get stronger.

Billy is doing good work these days. He's working in a lab that is researching ways to stop prostate cancer from metastisizing into the bone. I don't pretend to understand, but he's been doing something to a gene that has been found to quickly metastisize. It is nice to see him doing meaningful work, no matter how small a role he is playing in the research.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I finished...

and I qualified for the Boston Marathon. But I am definitely not running it. I did the first half (13.1) in 1:54+ and the second half in about 2:01, so I finished in 3:55.15--6th in age (I have to find out how many were in my age group, but I'm guessing a hundred or more). I'm very satisfied with my time. I need to retire from marathoning while I'm ahead--all four have been under 4 hours. Around mile 22 though, I was remembering why I hadn't done one in 10 years--it's really not fun at that point!

The day dawned cloudy and 60s, which is what it's been since we got here. Naturally, before we hit the halfway mark, the sun burned brightly. That is the one weather type that Bob cannot handle. He gets dehydrated so quickly, and that did him in today. I also have to take some blame, because I went out a little faster then what we'd planned (9 minute miles). It's really hard when your adrenaline is going and there are lots of racers to pass.

Weather doesn't really bother me, except for the sunburn I got. The bands early on were great early on; I can't say I paid much attention during the last 5-6 miles. There were lots of cheerleaders too and twice there were groups of men in drag. I couldn't tell if they were the same or a different group. I tried to watch as much as possible, but that's not my strong point when running.

What I did love is that I wore all pink, so I really stood out. I ran, for the first time, in a skirt--and I loved it. It was so comfortable and no chafing. I also had my name on my arms and people called out with my name or referenced the pink. I also had a lot of people come up to me with heartfelt words (because of the shirt I was wearing). They really helped drive me to the finish. One young man who could read English, but not speak it, passed me at about the 22nd mile and said some word to me--I have no idea what--but the tone of his voice was so sincere. I saw him at the end and he said a few more words and then hugged me. It was really touching! I could just tell by his tone and gestures that he was a really good person.

The finish was quite emotional as I thought about it being just about a year to the day that I started chemo. Even though the marathon hurt more, it was many times better!

When I get one, I will post a picture. I have to say, I'm glad this is over. My new goal is to just run for fun!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

And off we go...

We're leaving for San Diego bright and early tomorrow morning. This is when all my neuroses kick in! Have I trained enough? too much? have I tapered enough? am I still in good enough shape? will my heart hold up? (I guess that's my biggest worry.)

How will my pace be? I know there will be 25,000 runners, so it will be hard to get any speed and it will mean an even slower time then I could run. That makes me crazy, but I have to remember I am out there to enjoy myself and finish--I need to be happy I can finish, even if it's a 4 1/2 hour marathon. My big mistake was looking up the Boston Marathon qualifying time--4:05. I know I could make it if there wasn't such a crowd. Why do I care though; I have no intention of running Boston again. I'm supposed to run very easy and keep my heart rate down, but I know people expect more--but why do I care? (See, I have a lot of neuroses at this point!!!)

It could be worse--I could have unplugged the computer before the end of the MCAT test! Now that is stress! Billy is so much more calm then me (and just about anyone I know!).

It could be worse--the umpire just robbed the Tiger pitcher of a perfect game. Unbelievable!

None of my kids will be there, but mom, dad, and a couple of my sisters will be there. I got a nice goody bag from Roswell Park Cancer Institute with shirts for Bob and me and 4 shirts for spectators, plus signs and a couple noise makers--they better use those early; after 20 miles I am focused on just finishing and don't want talking and noise. The closest thing I can liken the last few miles of a marathon is childbirth--only because after my first marathon, I told someone I hadn't felt that bad since childbirth. Independently, Bob said he hadn't seen me so cranky since childbirth--so I guess that's the closest analogy. We'll see what happens here.

Keep me in mind on Sunday. The race starts at 6:15 a.m. pacific time (9:15 eastern). I don't expect to get over the starting line until 7:00 or so. We're in corrals based on our estimated finish time, so I'm way back. If I'm not done by noon (3:00 p.m. eastern time), I'm guessing there was trouble.

My biggest and most important triumph has already happened--I raised $6400 for my doctor's research, which she has already started. It's important research and will improve the quality of life for many women.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I had some explaining to do!

I had my second to last herceptin treatment yesterday. First I had to see the doctor and explain why she didn't have the results of my stress test. I had to explain my grandson's 1st birthday party was a higher priority. Not really a good explanation for a doctor, but she understood. She was going to have to explain it to the cardiologist though--he was not going to be happy!

We leave for San Diego a week from today. Looking at the weather there, it's going to be a lot cooler than in Buffalo. The Buffalo marathon is this weekend, and it's supposed to be over 80 degrees. That is mighty warm for a marathon. At this point, it's only supposed to be in the 60s in San Diego--perfect for me!

I'm supposed to be cutting my mileage, but I'm not doing too well. I did a 15 miler today. I'm afraid of losing my conditioning if I back off too much.

It's been absolutely beautiful Buffalo weather this week--mid to upper 80s all week. I think it's been better then any week we had last summer when it rarely stopped raining. I've loved having my bike out. I've been riding everywhere. Last summer I rarely rode because I was doing chemo. It feels good to air it out and have the breeze blowing through you. It really is nice to be healthy this year, and I feel like I'm in such good shape.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Buffalo may be cold and miserable 8 months a year, but when it's nice, it is hard to beat. Yesterday was a gorgeous morning (until it started drizzling about mile 9), so we set off for South Buffalo for one of my favorite runs. It's a very eclectic run--industry, parks, old neighborhoods. It really is a snapshot of what Buffalo looked like 75 years ago. The neighborhoods are mostly tidy little houses that were built around factories. You can still see where trains went right into the buildings to take away whatever they were making. You start in the center of the business district and work your way down cobblestone streets and lots of neighborhood bars--it's South Buffalo (Irish) after all. Part of the run is along the lake, past the botanical gardens, the Basilica in the distance and then the best part--right past the General Mills plant where they were baking Cheerios. I just wanted to stop, get a spoon and start eating cheerios off the assembly line (or however they pack them). It smelled SO good! We only went 12 miles, but I'd been 17 the day before. I'm supposed to be cutting back, but had my high mile mark last week (72 miles from Sunday to Saturday). I promise myself I will cut back this week. I do feel strong right now and ready to go.

Billy finished his MCAT for better or worse. He said the test was much harder then any practice tests out there. Hopefully he can take a breath and relax a little.

Here's a question. Would you ever ride a train again if you'd been on this one? An Amtrak (so passenger) train went through Buffalo on its way to Toronto on Friday. It hit and killed a woman walking on the tracks in Buffalo (I ran across the tracks in the exact spot last Saturday). When it neared Toronto, the same train hit and killed a man walking on the tracks. Neither accident was the engineer's fault, but I would think he'd have a hard time driving a train ever again. I think I'd have a hard time being a passenger either. Very traumatic!

Two weeks until marathon day. It's coming fast now!