For this whole past month I have been fighting some nasty illnesses, and finding myself knocked out by fatigue. All but one of the children have been sick with one kiddo having an ear infection, pneumonia and bronchitis. She and I spent the better part of three weeks separated by the whole house, quarantined in our respective rooms. It was during this time that the fatigue set in conveniently at the same time that my white blood cell count dropped, particularly my absolute neutrophil count. This means that I was at particular risk for getting sick, and it also made me tired. I thought when the counts came back up that my fatigue would decrease also, however that was not the case. I thought maybe it was because I was fighting off the family illnesses, but as they all started to get better the fatigue did not leave. I was continuing to train for my 50k’s and so I began to wonder if maybe training for the 50k was an unrealistic goal while homeschooling, parenting, and fighting off cancer.
My coach Nicole (@seeenserun on instagram) worked with me and brought my long run mileage down and decreased the intensity of the hard workouts. Still the fatigue progressed. It peaked after I did a road trip where I drove back and forth by myself. The first half because I love to drive and the second half because I was the only one driving back. I went from that trip into taking care of the kids by myself, because my husband was on his work trip. As soon as he came back it was clear that he was sick and I moved out of our bedroom so I would not get his illness. I went from being able to run 14 miles at the end of December to struggling to get in 8 miles last week. I spent the week wondering if this was really something that I could do. 50k is no small distance, fighting cancer is no small energy drain. Can my body do both? I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this and I have come to no great conclusion. All I can do is try to change some things and keep trying for a bit longer before I decide if I should rein it back into maybe the half marathon distance.
Once I moved back into the bedroom I realized how much I had gotten in a sleep deficit. I had one night of great sleep and suddenly I felt like a whole other person! My optimism came back and I felt ready to do the 50k again. By the end of that day though the fatigue had settled back in some. It is clear to me now that I need to make sleep a bigger priority if I am going to consider this challenge. Once I have gotten some regular good sleep I will readdress if my body can handle this endeavor.
With that on the back burner I got a lot of good news in this last month. My cancer markers at the beginning of the month were the best they have ever been, with one even dropping into the normal range. The doctors are confident part of the reason they are so good is my running. So even if I drop my race mileage goals I will keep running around 30 miles a week. For those of you with a strong medical background or a strong desire to know the exact numbers. My CA27-29 was at 55, although it came up to 59 after my month of fatigue. My CA15-3 was 30, although it also came up a bit in the last month to 41. Also on the good news front. I got my every 3 months PETCT scan to check how my cancer is doing. Everything is pretty much stable. No cancer sites are metabolically active. Which is great news!! There was one spot that looked like a lymph node inside my pelvic wall that was active. My doctor says that because the lymph node is very small, and because it is not in an area that breast cancer travels, he is not worried about it. Looks like we will keep an eye on that spot, but he thinks I may have just had a scratch or something that caused that lymph node to be active.
Other exciting news is that I have my fundraising site up and running. This is such an important cause to me because research is the main reason I am doing well. If there was not some funding invested in metastatic breast cancer research they would not have the medications I am currently using and doing so well on. There are so many new and exciting avenues of research that are looking promising and so much more left to be discovered. Since all funding for research is private now it is critical that we get the money to the scientists who can do the work and change lives like mine. Please head on over to the website and think about donating some. If you can’t spread the word about my venture via this blog or any of these social media sites!
Fundraising site: https://secure.metavivor.org/page/contribute/Mariasol-Gutierrez
Youtube: PocoLocoRunner https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0ybZAeTYg1L3sfQADdayTQ?view_as=subscriber