Setbacks and Comebacks


So it’s been a while… a lot has happened. It started well in November, a trip to see my new niece! The I developed a horrible neck spasm that ended up with my going to urgent care. How did I do such a thing? Was it a killer workout? Some contorted yoga move? No. I got out of bed. And now I feel really old. How did I tweak out my neck so badly that my sister-in-law said I looked like I was in labor, from simply getting out of bed. In all fairness I think this actually started last may when I got a horrific neck spasm from…wait for it…drying my hair. I know another exciting moment of my life. I think I never really got better from that spasm which set me up for another one. So back to October. We had two weekends in a row of flights that allowed me to get better between and then get worse during the flights. Finally, once I had my super awesome doc give me some trigger point injections, I started to heal. By the time I got running again it was almost three weeks later. Luckily I was on massive muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories so my joint pain was not horrible, but by the time I got back to running I could feel it start to come back. I knew it was only a matter of time before I was incapacitated. I started back slowly, and I definitely felt my neck muscles letting me know they were still recovering. I was going slowly and a very short distance; in fact my first run back was a mere 1 mi. It was a start though. I knew I had to get in a few runs to keep the pain at bay as I knew another major setback was coming.

Shortly before Christmas I had a surgery. It was one I was not sure I really wanted to share with the world. It is one of the reasons I have waited to write this post. I spent some time trying to figure out how to keep talking about my process for getting healthier without including this detail. I was fit. I was doing half marathons, and I was gearing up to run another one. People were starting to see me as a bit of an athlete rather than the crazy cancer lady. I would still run into people who I had not seen for a long while, and they would look at me with a furrowed brow and hesitancy in their eyes as they asked how I was doing. Most people though would look at me as I ran laps around my kids soccer field as a crazy athlete person. The truth of the matter is that I wanted to put the cancer behind me. I was doing well at keeping back the paranoias of every ache and pain. That was until I went in for my mammogram. I had no worries and just wanted the boob mushing over with. Then the ultrasound tech paused over an area of my breast during the ultrasound. Then she went over it, over and over. Then her brow became furrowed. Basically a furrowed brow is never a good thing! After what seemed like an eternity she settled me into the chair and took her furrowed brow out of the room to get the doctor. I did not need the doctor to return to know that a biopsy was in my future. The doctor came back, with furrowed brow, and furrowed her brow through some more ultrasound. Then she dropped the anticipated bomb. The ultrasound did not look good, and they wanted a biopsy. The good news she told me was that it was small. Now there’s a comfort. In another week I had a biopsy that confirmed my fears. I had another breast cancer tumor. Good news it was small and was not related to my first cancer at all. This was not a recurrence it was a new tumor. Time to lop off the breast. Sounds harsh; but, hey, that sucker had it in for me and the feeling was fully mutual at this point. So enter BIG setback. My oncologist changed my anti estrogen medication and a flux of new joint pain came in. I needed the running so badly, to clear my head and help my pain, yet I was still held back by the neck spasm. I have had the surgery and now if I get hot running in the summer I can just take my shirt off like the guys! I have healed quickly and well.

So here I am now in the beginning of my major comeback. I started running about a week ago. I decided to start with a run/walk until I could get back up to speed/distance. I have worked up to three miles with I think three breaks of walking for .1 mi each. My running speed is 4mph instead of 6mph before. I started last week with a 3lb weight, and I have now progressed to a whopping 5lb weight vs the 12lb weights before. I faltered for a minute on my exercise and my vegetarian diet, but my doctor reminded me that my new healthy habits are still great for helping to prevent a recurrence. So I will continue to work to keep some control of my life. I will soak in the sun, gain strength from the earth and move forward to a healthier life!