Thursday, June 27, 2013

Back on the trails!!

What a wonderful day!  A day to finally get back on the trails!

My last trail run with my sister was May 11th!  That is 47 days ago! So, I was so pumped to hit them again today for the first time in what seemed like ages.  But then.....

Last night I got terribly sick.  I was so nauseous that I actually went to bed at 9 PM (very unlike me).  I didn't know what was wrong; recovery issues, stomach bug, who knows.  I knew when I woke up this morning I would be devastated if I was too sick to run.

No, a rooster didn't actually crow this morning to wake me up.  I only have hens.  But my iPhone did wake me playing lovely harp music.  I slowly sat up and waited to see if the nausea was still present.  Waited.  Waited.  GONE!!  Hooray I would be trail running today!!

I was so excited, that I was forgetting everything.  IT was  as if I'd never ran before.  Went out the door, forgot my watch.  Back out the door, forgot my bag.  Out the door once more, where's my water.  Finally had myself together, out the door for last time.  Before pulling out of the driveway I sent Michele the usual "I'm on my way" text. But this time my text said; "Leaving now. OH BOY!"

When I got to the bottom of my hill, Michele had not yet responded back.  Did she remember?

Ten minutes later, the weirdest thing happened.  Suddenly I had no idea where I was.  I had no idea which road I was on or anything.  I slowed down and frantically looked at landmarks.  Where am I?  Was this some strange side effect from taking so much medication for so long?

It only took me a few seconds (though it seemed longer) to realize where I was.  Going the right way!  But still no response from Michele.  She better be awake!!

It is about a 30 minute drive for me to get to my sister's house.  It wasn't until I had been on the road for 20 MINUTES that I finally received a smiley face response to my earlier text.  OK, at least I knew she was up and happy to go as well.

The trail we picked for today was Seaman's Gulch.  This is because the hills are friendly and it's a pretty short loop.  This being my first trail run in so long I had no idea what to expect.  It was a warm morning so although we were running a short run we still knew we'd need to carry water.  PROBLEM. I cannot wear a hydration belt right now.  So, Michele had to carry my water for me.  She said she was going to be my mule.

Hey, I thought, not having to carry my own water, I could get used to this!!!

I was so excited to go, FINALLY!  Michele snapped a picture of me when we started.  Can't you just feel my joy??

I would have loved to do a "fast Cory" leap and I felt like doing one, but my new tumor-free body is not quite ready for that yet.
We ran Seaman's counter-clockwise.  Michele felt it would have less jarring of a downhill if we did.  We had never ran it this way and it was an absolutely genius idea.  I felt pretty good, a little tired.  Then suddenly, here comes the nausea again. Oh No!!  Time to stop for a water break.
I looked at my watch, WHAT!?!?  "We have only gone .8 of a mile!"  I shouted.  I was breathing heavy and so tired and nauseous!!  Then I remembered something Laura had left as a comment on my last blog:
Measure your progress from what is in your life now, not what you were capable of before. Enjoy getting strong again!
I shared it with Michele.  What great advice.  It really helped me out at that moment on the trail. So, thank you so much Laura!!
After the first mile there was really no more climbing.  I felt great and ran at least 75% of the run!  It felt so good to be out there again.  I loved it!

I couldn't have asked for better weather or a better running partner.  We did 2.68 miles in 31 minutes. Not too shabby for us gals!!

So today, I ended the nightmare of a chapter that I have been living for 6 weeks.  I can now do nothing but look ahead to greater runs and happier days!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

My recovery by the numbers

It has been 32 days since my surgery!!  It is so hard to believe everything that I have gone through.  It's been a whirlwind of numbers......

45 - days since my tumor was discovered
32 - days since my surgery
15 - pounds I lost
8 - weight of my tumor
8 - inches, length of my incision
4 - sleepless nights because I was allergic to the surgical tape (horrible rash!)
10 - number of staples I had
1 - shower chair that was a heaven send
4 - days spent in the hospital
3 - weeks before I could sneeze without blacking out because of the pain
112 - number of pain pills I took (glad I am not addicted!)
10 - days I have been pain pill free
5 - days since my first walk
.6 - miles on my first walk
4.36 - miles that I walk/ran today!
12.07 - miles I have logged in this week so far
6 - days until my first trail walk/run with my sole sisters ( I am SO excited!!)
29 - days until my first post-surgery race (which I will be super slow at)

For awhile I felt like I was NEVER going to be able to recover.  Time was going so slowly and simple things would tire me out.  Then Sunday, Father's Day, my husband said, "Let's go on a walk."  I was super slow and we didn't go far but something changed THAT DAY.  And I am never looking back!

It is humbling to realize how far I still have to go.  I was running anywhere between a 7:45 and 8:30 pace depending on the length of the run.  I used to say that it wasn't worth my time to head out for a run unless I did at LEAST 5 miles.  And now, I am so happy to do any amount!  When I walked .6 miles I was telling everyone because I was so proud of myself. 

I definitely have a long way to go before I am back into my marathon shape.  My goals and perspectives have been altered a great deal.  But there is nothing better than when someone asks me how I am and I can smile and say, "I do NOT have cancer!!!"

Friday, June 7, 2013

Where have I been?

That's a great question with a very long answer.  So I will be forced to make it brief.

On May 7, 2013 my doctor discovered that I had a tumor in my abdomen.  He felt it was a benign Uterine Fibroid.  To be safe he ordered a CT scan.  The plan was to get shots for 3 months, shrink the tumor and remove it in the least evasive way possible. 

CT scan performed and we discover that the growth inside me was, as the doctor put it, "enormous".  So large that it was difficult to distinguish exactly where it was originating from.  Also, it was growing rapidly AND had pinched off the ureter leading to my right kidney.  I could not wait 3 months.

One last trail run.  We ran Veteran's Trails.  I couldn't run with a pack because it hurt.  So, I didn't carry my phone and therefore no pictures.  It was a good run, but somber.  A huge disappointing factor in this was the fact that I had been training since November to PR in the Famous Potato Full Marathon.  I knew I would too.  I had the secret goal to qualify for Boston.  My last big run had been a 20 miler in in 2:53.  I knew I would've accomplished my goals.  But I could not run.

Next step, surgery!  I went in on May 20, 2013.  The incision turned out to be 8 inches long straight up my middle.  The tumor?  It turned out to be the size of a football and weighed in between 6-8 pounds!  However, it was something they had never seen before.  Neither my surgeon o the pathologist had any idea what it was and where it originated from. 

Four days in the hospital, and now I am in the midst of recovery.

My tumor was sent off to John Hopkins Research Center and is being studied there by the greatest medical minds in the world.  Their findings?  They did determine that there is no cancer but still have no indication as to what it is.

I am happy to know what it ISN'T.  Knowing it is not cancer is enough for me.

As far as my running?

Right now I am focusing on being able to just get back to everyday activities without pain.  The doctor said 6-8 weeks before I should even say the word run.  It is day 18 and recovery is going steady but slow. 

So, if you are running a trail today or tomorrow, sprint up one of those hills for me!