Why am I Running from Cancer?

Why am I Running from Cancer?. . . check out this post for an explanation

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Life gets in the Way

It has been a week since I have written on my blog and at least 4 days since I have checked up on any of the blogs that I follow. yikes . . . I miss it . . . but I have been so busy. Work has been very hectic and I have been working 11 hour days. We also had 16 inches of snow last Wednesday followed by extremely cold temps. It warmed up over the week end and my runs on Saturday and Sunday almost seemed balmy - it was 32. But the weather is again hovering around zero. burrrrrrr!!!!

My sons and I are heading to Colorado skiing this week. Our original plan was to leave on Friday and we were going to drive. But on Sunday I checked airfares and found flights that I could use my credit card points towards and get "free" tickets. To get these tickets we would have to leave earlier than we planned by a day . . . leaving on Thursday instead of Friday. I went back and forth all day on Monday - one minute thinking I should book the plane tickets, the next minute thinking no - we should just drive because even though the air tickets were "free" I would then need to rent a vehicle and add an additional hotel room to the budget . . . another day of skiing and more food.
But what the heck - after being diagnosed with breast cancer 5 years ago - I tend to live more in the moment . . . still saving for the future - but not wanting to be penny wise and pound foolish.

Vail, Beaver Creek and Steamboat here we come. We will be flying out of Milwaukee at 6:00am Thursday. It will be an early morning, because we need to drive to Milwaukee from Madison - which means we will be leaving at 3:00am - OMG. Oh well - we will take it easy on Thursday and then plan to ski at Vail and/or Beaver Creek on Friday and Saturday. Sunday morning we will leave the Silverthorne area and head up to Steamboat and ski there until Thursday. I would have booked a room in Milwaukee, but my oldest son won't get back from college until Wed. evening late, because he has a final on Wed. evening. So we will simply get up EARLY.

All this means that I have been busy rounding up ski's, boards, jackets, bag's, under armor, etc. and getting them all set out so that we can pack things tomorrow and head out on Thursday. Doing laundry every night to get things ready. Why is it that when you travel, you always want the clothes that are dirty. All the other clothes that are in my closet could work . . . but no . . . I want the clothes that are in the laundry basket.

Need to sign off . . .
Take care and enjoy your family. I will try and check in on my fellow bloggers.

Peace and Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blizzard conditions

Well we are getting socked by a winter storm tonight. Blizzard conditions are expected tomorrow with up to 16 inches of snow. ;-) My husband and I went for a walk this evening. We took our dog, Sophie - it was beautiful. The snow was really coming down and it is starting to get pretty windy - but the temp's are still in the low 30's - so not too cold. I guess the cold temp's are coming tomorrow evening. I was suppose to head to Chicago for a conference tomorrow - but we have decided that the there will be too much snow tomorrow to travel. So I am stuck here in Madison.

Kids will be happy - schools are closed tomorrow. That just about never happens for the city of Madison. Many of the nearby rural communities close school pretty often or have delayed start times due to snow - but the public schools in Madison rarely close. But tomorrow will be a snow day. I can count on my hands the number of days my kids have been off for snow.

My husband, Todd works at UW Madison and that is also closed tomorrow. So I will be the only one heading out tomorrow morning. Chances are that I won't be heading to work to early in the morning - depending on just how much snow we have on the ground. I didn't get home tonight until almost 7:00 - I figured I was at work and had lot's to do - so I stayed and got some stuff done - incase I don't get there very early tomorrow morning. Problem with that is that my car did not get in the garage - so I will have to clean it off tomorrow morning.

I will take some pic's tomorrow morning and post them.

Peace and appreciate all you have.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cold and Snow . . . brrrrrr

Last week I was having problems figuring out how to dress for the cold - some days I was too warm and some days too cold. Well when I ran this morning things went much better. I think that once it is cold it is so much easier to dress. For this mornings 3 mile run I had wind pants with polar max tights underneath. I had my polar top on with a fleece vest and light jacket - hat and gloves. I was pretty comfy.

Tomorrow the forecast is for 3 inches of snow overnight with temps in the low 20's in the morning. This will be the first time we have gotten any real measurable snow fall this year. Looking forward to the snow. I should be able to dress the same as this morning and feel pretty good.

I have never run in Yaktrax's - but I am thinking about getting a pair. Any body have any experience with them? Seems like it would be pretty awkward running in them??

So here is the forecast for the next 6 days - I am heading to Chicago on Wed. afternoon for a 1 day conference - I love Chicago and would love to be able to do some shopping - but I am with a group from work and will only be there the one day. Check out the low temperatures on Wed & Thur . . . single digits. Brrrrrrrrr

Enjoy your life!



AM Snow Showers

Light Snow

Snow Showers/Wi- nd

Partly Cloudy
Extended Forecast
High: 33°
Low: 25°
High: 28°
Low: 21°
High: 30°
Low: 29°
High: 29°
Low: 2°
High: 15°
Low: 3°

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Badgers beat Duke

I just got home from seeing the UW Badgers beat Duke 73-69. The Badgers led for the entire game - it was awesome.

Love it . . .

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Clothes for winter

Winter is coming and I have been having problems dressing for the cold. It use to be that I just suffered through being pretty cold at the beginning of the runs - but for some reason . . . age might have something to do with it . . . I just don't want to suffer through that cold feeling and numb fingers.

I have been using 30 as my cut off point - above 30 and I am fine with my under armor shirt and light pants - below 30 and I have been putting on fleece under my pants. Problem with that is that although I am comfy when I start out - I get way too hot and start sweating.

Maybe part of the problem has been that our weather has been very erratic - this morning it was in the high 30's when I ran and tomorrow morning it is suppose to be in the low 30's with 15 mile an hour winds - which will mean a windchill in the mid 20's. Maybe if it gets cold and stays cold I will adjust to the colder temp's.

Tomorrow should be the beginning of about 7 + days of cold weather. Since I run at 6:00 AM - I will get to face the low temp's and will probably wear the fleece. How the heck could I be too hot when the temp is near 20 degrees? I know that I have hot flashes - but there is no way I should be too hot in those temp's. I will let you know how I feel after my run tomorrow morning.

MADISON, WI forecast

Partly Cloudy

Mostly Cloudy



Partly Cloudy
Extended Forecast
High: 48°
Low: 32°
High: 38°
Low: 26°
High: 33°
Low: 23°
High: 29°
Low: 21°
High: 34°
Low: 23°


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Possum under the Shed

The last couple weeks our dog Sophie, a 1.5 year old golden retriever, has been sniffing a lot on our screen porch. She obviously smells something - well a couple of days ago we let her outside and there was a possum standing there - lucky for both of them - the possum headed quickly under the storage shed. So we borrowed a live trap from our neighbor and set it up Saturday evening - we put chicken and peanut butter in as bait. Sure enough, this morning there was the possum in the trap. So, first thing this morning, we headed out of town with the trap and possum and let it go out in some woods on the other side of the lake from us. I hope that is the end of the possum's. We are going to keep the trap to set up again next weekend - just to make sure there aren't more.

Sophie and I went out this morning for an easy 2 mile run. It was cool - but pleasant. It is so nice having a running partner. . . she has developed into a nice runner - or should I say trotter? Unless I am sprinting - and I don't do that often, she is simply trotting happily along my side. During the warmer months I would only take her 2 miles, but now that it is cooler out - she gets some longer runs. On Friday we ran 5 miles.

Pretty easy going day. My husband headed out of town for work - so once I dropped him off at the airport, Sophie, my son and I took her to the dog park. She loves getting to chase around the other dogs.

Tonight I am making bars to take to work tomorrow. Since it was my birthday on Saturday - treats are expected.

Enjoy the day

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Looking Forward to Winter

So I have two ski trips planned for this winter. My sons and I will be traveling to Steamboat Springs CO over Christmas - - - love love love Steamboat. I also have a trip planned to Vail in February with a friend. I have been looking for conferences and found one in Denver – since I will be there – I will stay for 5 more days and ski with a friend in Vail. How lucky am I – two trips to Colorado for skiing this winter.

I only started downhill skiing 5 years ago. Up until then I had never been on downhill ski’s. My son had signed up for ski club in Middle School and we attended a reduced family ski trip over Christmas break. After that I enjoyed it – but had only skied a few times in Wisconsin. Then a friend was organizing a trip to Colorado and asked me if I was interested in going. This was the year after I had competed my chemo treatments for breast cancer. I didn’t even have to think about the answer . . . it was Yes – yes – yes.

Enjoy the Day – it’s my 54th Birthday!!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Extra Holiday Motivation

One of the blogs that I follow is RunToTheFinish. Author, Amanda is hosting the 2nd annual Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge and I decided to enter. So far it has been very motivating. The rules are pretty simple; the challenge runs from Nov 23 to Jan 8, we get points for exercising, 1 point for every mile run or walked, 1 point per 3 miles biked and points for other types of exercising, like elliptical, Yoga, Pilates etc. and 1 point for eating 7 servings of fruit and vegies per day. So far . . . so good. It is wonderful to have a little extra motivation during the holidays.

I have been very good about icing and stretching my plantar fascia ligament daily. I also did a lot of Google searches about plantar fasciitis and remembered that I have a pair of orthotics. Searched in my closet and what do you know – I found them, and have been wearing them in my work shoes and running shoes. Although I still feel it – it does feel better. I am also taking the many suggestions that say you should make sure that you stretch it before getting out of bed in the morning. So I have a stretch band next to the bed and make sure that I do that for a couple of minutes before rising.

So far this week, I took Sophie for a walk on Monday morning and evening and ran 3.2 miles at lunch. On Tuesday I walked Sophie in the morning and rode the Elliptical at work yesterday evening after work. I ran this morning and will take Sophie for a walk tonight. And I have been eating 7 servings of fruits and veggies each day. Yea for me. -J Looking forward to a long week end and getting some longer runs / walks in to boost my points. I had thought about running the Berbee Derby, a 5 or 10 k run on Thanksgiving Day – but decided against it since my foot is still bothering me . . . the competitive side of me would find it hard to run an easy race. So I will continue with my comfy 2-3 mile runs and try to extend it this weekend to 5-6 milers.

My son Joe, 21 and a senior in college, is coming home tonight. It will be nice to spend some time with him – maybe he will run a couple of times with me. He runs way faster than me – he ran the ½ marathon with me in August, he ran it in 1:28, while I ran it in 2:12 – oh well. He has talked about running a marathon and would love to qualify for Boston – which at that pace – I think he would be able to pretty easily. While I would love to try and run another marathon – the training time commitment is just too much for me. My one and only marathon was in 2000. It was as a result of my year 2000 New Year’s Resolution. I ran the Madison Marathon in 4:15. Anyway – it would be more fun to cheer for my son than train for another marathon. My younger son, Charlie is a senior in high school and finally submitted 4 college applications last night. I had been reminding him and reminding him that we had set a goal of getting them submitted BEFORE Thanksgiving and he did. Way to go Charlie!!!

Have a great day and enjoy family and friends over the long weekend.

Enjoy the day
Happy Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sometimes life just gets in the way

I haven't written in a week and I have only run twice this week. hmmmmm . . . there just might be a correlation. Anyway - I had a lot of things going on this week and work has been really hectic. I have been spending 10-11 hours at the office - not getting home until around 7:00.

AND my foot has still been bothering me. My self diagnosis of Plantar fasciitis is not going away. I have been wrapping my arch for support when I run or take my goldie Sophie out for a walk. That certainly helps - but I can still feel the burning, especially afterwards. Boy the other day I wore a pair of slip on penny loafer flats that just about killed my foot. I won't be wearing them again until my foot feels better.

Last night I went to dinner with a friend from my church. I picked an Italian restaurant close to my work - that I haven't been to in years. The restaurant is in an old church, yes - she is a friend from church and we had dinner in a church ;-) The church was built in 1897. It is a beautiful interior and exterior with what appears to be all of the original woodwork and lovely stained glass windows. Some of the pews are used for booth benches. The food was delicious. I had the Fettuccini pasta with shrimp, red peppers, gr. onions and garlic in a vodka tomato cream sauce. Yummmmm I am happy to say that I brought some home and will get to enjoy it for lunch today.

Speaking of today - Todd (husband) and I are going to look for a new snowblower today. Our snowblower of 25 years died this year. He tried to fix - took the carburetor apart - but no such luck - he took it to a small engine shop yesterday and left it there as a gift to be used as spare parts. I told him that could be his Christmas present. ;-) Our luck we won't need it this winter. Living in wisconsin, sometimes we get a lot of snow and sometimes - not so much. Oh well.

Well I smell the coffee - it is done brewing - I am going to have a cup, look at the paper and net for news and then head out for a walk with the dog. I am going to take my camera - it is extremely foggy this morning and I would like to get some nice pic's.

Enjoy the day!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Running Saved my Life

I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer 5 years ago. Running saved my life . . . .

Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) doesn't usually present itself in the same way as other breast cancers. IBC grows in a sheet, not a mass like most other breast cancer and because of that is much harder to detect through mammography - it is usually found in later in the staging process - and has a much worse survival rate. According to data from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, for women who were diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer between 1988 and 2001, the 5-year relative survival rate was about 40%. This compares with about 87% for all breast cancers combined. For more information on Inflammatory Breast Cancer visit IBC Research foundation.

So here is my story

I had my annual mammogram in May with nothing unusual identified, and my cancer diagnosis happened four months later in Sept. It still amazes me how fast this whole thing happened.

I woke up on July 30, 2004 and went to put my sports bra on for my morning run. As I was pulling it over my head (don't you just hate how tight those things are) I noticed that my right breast was swollen and slightly warm to the touch. When I got to work - I immediately called my Dr. and got in to see her that day. Both she and I thought that it was an infection and I was given 2 weeks of antibiotics. While my breast got slightly better it did not resolve itself and was put on a 2nd batch of antibiotics. I went back to the Dr and had a biopsy performed on the Friday before Labor Day. I received the diagnosis from the Dr. on the following Wednesday, Sept 8 and started chemo on the following Thursday Sept, 16, 2004.

My treatment involved:
  • 4 doses of Adriamycin / Cytoxan - every two weeks - side effect: nausea
  • Surgery - right side mastectomy - the cancer that was removed was 12 cm - which, even though it has been 5 years, still astonishes me. I find it hard to believe that I had a mammogram in May and this didn't show up - but that is the sneaky thing about IBC - since it grows in sheets, it is much more difficult to find. I also had lymph nodes removed during the mastectomy - 13 were taken out with 6 of them containing cancer.
  • 4 doses of Taxotere - every three weeks - side effect: blister type burns on feet, hands and inside of my mouth
  • Had a port surgically implanted in my chest - to make the weekly injections easier to handle
  • 28 Radiation sessions
  • Weekly chemo drug called Herceptin for 1 year

From start to finish - 16 months of treatment.

I am so thankful that I noticed my breast and took action that day in July. We were heading out of town for vacation at the end of that day - but I am so thankful that I took the time to see the Dr. that day. Who knows how much more it would have grown had I waited for any amount of time.

Cancer has made me so aware of my surroundings. That includes people and space. I try to make sure that I only do things that I want to do and are surrounded by people that I like. OK - that isn't always easy - but if I have a choice. Complainers and people who are not happy about anything drive me crazy. I am so appreciative of each and every day. I used to always think - if only I had this or that, or lost 5 lbs, or had new furniture, or ran faster or had a bigger house but now I am thankful for every day and realize that maybe . . . just maybe, this is as good as it gets, because things can change in an instance . . . Enjoy the day . . . enjoy your life . . . enjoy the moment . . . it might be the best day of your life.

Nutrition and Running

Normally I think I eat pretty good. During the week especially - I almost always take my lunch to work and it involves a couple of pieces of fruit - Naked drink - almonds - soup or salad. Well yesterday I was out of the office and boy oh boy did I pay for it this morning. I fought for every mile this morning on my run. It was a total struggle - but I did do it - so I am happy about that.
Obviously I know that food effects how I feel - but this morning is was so much more pronounced . . . I think because it has been quite a long time since I have had any of these foods . . . and I hope it is a long time until I try these again.

So here is a list of what I ate:
  • breakfast on the road - Egg McMuffin and Micky D's Hazelnut latte (way too sweet)
  • lunch (during my meeting) was fried rice with stir fry vegies, egg roll with sauce and a fortune cookie
  • after the meeting on our way back to Madison we stopped at Kopp's in Milwaukee a yummy shop with the best frozen custard and I had a peanut butter with hot fudge shake.
By the time I got back into town - I was so tired - more than likely from the food.

Once I got back from the trip yesterday I stopped at a friends house to talk about our winter ski trip to Vail. I had a couple of glasses of wine - it was a fun way to end a day that involved too much of the wrong food.

Today, Saturday - I got back into healthy eating starting with my favorite fruit smoothie - Stonyfield yogurt, frozen berries, a little hazelnut butter and milk.

Enjoy the Day

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dull Ache

After running only 2 miles this morning - my foot (really my arch) has been aching most of the day. I will ice it tonight and take some Advil - I have a meeting out of the office tomorrow - so no running in the morning - so that should give it a little break and then I will try it out on Saturday again.
Injuries suck - no other way to say it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Foot says Stop but the rest of me is ready to Go

So I haven't run since Saturday because I am pretty sure that I have Plantar fasciitis. I have been feeling this for about a month and have been running lightly and resting but don't really notice any difference. I have recently been taping my arch with Kinesio tape and hoping that will help and provide some added support. I hate this - especially since it doesn't hurt that bad while I am running - but then really bothers me during the day. I am planning on running at least two miles tomorrow morning . . . I know that isn't very far - but I want to simply check out my foot and see if the 4 days of rest has helped. I am planning on running the Berbee Derby on Thanksgiving Day. This will be two days before my 54th birthday so I will use it as my birthday celebration. The race has both a 5K and 10K and I am leaning towards the 10K - but tomorrows run will determine my registration choice.

Tired and sleepy - so I am going to sleep.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The beginning

Well - What to say - This is the beginning of my blog.
I will be keeping this simple because I don't have much time. Over the last month I have found myself absorbed in the blogs that I follow - and have decided to give it a try.
Even though it is a little early - this is going to be my 2010 new years resolution.

Back in 2000 I resolved at age 48 that I was going to run a marathon for the first time - up to that time I had only run 3 miles at any one time - five months later I ran the Madison Marathon in 4:17. Not the fastest time by any means - but I am still happy with that time.

This year I am going to resolve to Blog - using it to put to my thoughts on running, being a mom, staying in shape, surviving surgery - chemo - radiation to battle breast cancer out here in blogland for all to see and read.

My motto: do what you like in life!