Archive for March, 2007

Life Goes On

March 26, 2007

Like most folks I was saddened by the news about Elizabeth Edwards’ cancer recurrance and also, like most folks, I reacted by thinking “Why is he still running?”. Then I thought about it some more. Do we really expect John Edwards to go home, sit in the house and cry? Does that help anyone? What should he do? What would most people do and why? Luckily, I think, most people keep on going because that’s the right and best thing for everyone.

I still remember a little too vividly when Dave’s doctor called to tell us the biopsy results showed lymphoma. It was 8 or 9 at night which was bad timing since it meant no sleep for either of us. It also meant we had to get up the next day and face our kids and go on to work. It was incredibly difficult but staying home and crying just wasn’t an option nor was it such a great idea. There is comfort in the every day routine and the distraction of our usual life. The truth is most people don’t have the option to stop everything after a bad medical diagnosis nor should they.

After the initial diagnosis we heard some of the same quotes from doctors that the Edwards are hearing – “treatable, not curable”. That’s a tough one to swallow but these days most times cancer doesn’t mean your life has ended. It may mean your life has changed but thankfully, it goes on – hopefully for a good long while. Dave just got an “all clear” report from his doctor again this week but the doctor is already discussing what we will choose to do when it returns.

I’m sorry to break it to you, but we’re all going to die of something sometime. Some people already know what it will probably be. How does that change things for them? My experience as a doctor tells me that most people are much stronger than they expect to be when they face these things. I see more peoples’ lives crumble from the day to day battles with depression or chronic pain, things that don’t get society’s attention or community support, but cancer seems to bring out the best in people sometimes.

We, like the Edwards I’m sure, hope desperately for new treatments and the good luck to fall on the positive side of the statistics, but I like to think that life for us isn’t about waiting but about living. Last week Dave flew kites with Meg at her school, cooked green eggs and ham at Eden’s, planted innumerable flowers in our yard, played soccer (quite aggressively I’m sure) with 20 somethings and went on a 16 mile bike ride with me. He also laughed a lot (especially at me when I fell off the bike, but I’ll save that one for another time. Don’t worry Mom I’m not hurt.). To paraphrase Elizabeth Edwards – I expect he’ll do tomorrow what he did today – and I hope I can keep up.

A quarter way there

March 17, 2007

Hard to believe but I’m over a month into the training now with 3 more months to go. Our training plan is challenging but doable thus far. We have 3 weeks of building up with more and more time put into the workouts then a recovery week. This week ends a 3 week cycle and I’m looking forward to a slightly easier week next week. I put in about 5 hours total with three runs, two swims and three bike workouts this week. I’ve pretty much gotten the workouts in but finding enough time has been tough. I did have to wake up at 5:30 one morning to bike (on the stationary bike of course since I still have PTSD from last weekend’s flat tire) , and I planned to do it again later in the week but turned off the alarm. Since I didn’t get quite enough bike minutes in this week I did another “brick” today – bike then run. Because it’s so cold today this was a 45 min spin class followed by a little over a 4 mile treadmill run. It went surprisingly well and was a testimony to the fact that I’ve gotten stronger since I know I couldn’t have done that a month ago. It’s really too bad the whole triathlon can’t be indoors as I really like having a bathroom right beside me the whole time! So, on the training front, I’m progressing and if all goes as planned I should be able to finish this thing strong on June 24th. I’m hopeful right now and that feels good.

Perhaps my good outlook is due to the amazing fundraising support I’ve gotten. I think I was more nervous about the money raising than the workouts when all this started but I’m no longer worried about that end. I’ve been shocked at the generosity and thoughtfulness of so many friends and family members. A group of wonderful neighbors are planning a group garage sale with some proceeds to go to the LLS. I am so grateful to live near such lovely people! It is heartwarming and so encouraging to see the donations and well wishes come in. As much as we’ve tried to be a strong family who stand up to what comes at us I know we couldn’t do it without these incredible folks in our lives. Thanks so much guys! I sure couldn’t do this without you.

Sometimes you just have to laugh

March 10, 2007

    I bought a new bike, on ebay no less. It seems like a pretty good bike, but what do I know really?  Anyway, I took it out today for my first real road ride on a bike in years.  All my “biking” recently has been either on a stationary bike or a spin class.  Anyway, I was psyched for the “brick” Saturday workout – a bike and then run. I set out, alone (yes, that was my first mistake), on an 8 mile loop in RTP.  This was a loop suggested by the TNT coach and normally we might go together but the coach is out of the country this weekend.  I had planned on maybe doing it twice.  Anyway, I’m riding along for a while thinking “I’m good at this. This is fun” when the first thing I notice is some woman on a bike whooshes past me.  Not only was this embarrassing, it was scary too.  So, I thought, I’m slow, I can deal with that.  Then I notice I’m also really unsteady.  Boy, now I’m getting worried.  Not only am I slow, I’m also unbalanced and can’t even ride a bike straight.   Suddenly, my vision of finishing this triathlon was going down quickly in flames in my mind and I was feeling really crushed.  Then, I realized something about my tire was funny.  Soooo.. turns out 3 miles in on my first real bike ride – I got a flat tire.  Of course, I knew this might happen but this was a brand new bike and Dave had made a point of putting air in the tires before I left and everything.  Of course here I was at least 4 miles from my car and stuck.  Yes, I know they make bike repair kits to take with you and I need one, but I don’t have one yet.  I called Dave on the cell phone who told me it was okay to keep riding on it.  That was one hellacious 4 more miles.  Finally after an hour of starting, stopping, and sometimes walking with the bike (in my lovely bike shoes) I finally arrived at my car.  I was frustrated but I did my 3 mile run I planned on and went home feeling perplexed about the quality of my bike but not as sad as when I thought I just sucked at road biking.

So, I arrived home and my local bike mechanic (Dave) took a look at the tire.  Turns out the valve was left open after he filled it with air before I left and I guess it slowly leaked out.  The bike and tire seem fine now, and I guess I am too.  Sometimes, you just have to laugh.

Simple Bare Necessities

March 3, 2007

This blog entry comes to you through the lovely wireless internet services of the UNC Pediatric ER. On Thursday night Meg developed sudden vomiting and her body has refused all liquids for 36 hours now so we’re here to get her hydrated and hopefully break the throw up cycle. She’s done this before with a GI virus. Seems she has more trouble than most kids fighting it off and recovering.

This experience has got me thinking about what the real necessities of life are. Fluid for sure since just 36 hours without any will end you up here in a windowless closet size room with jolly painted scenes on the wall. Food too I suppose – although many of us get too much of that. And, for me, sleep is a biggie. Since she woke up every 15-20 minutes most of Thursday night I got no sleep at all. It’s thankfully been a while since that happened. It brought back memories of residency and labor and the first 3 months of my girls’ lives – all painful times in one way or another. I become a different person without sleep and it’s not pretty. I knew this about myself so that one is not a shock. However, I have recently discovered that exercise is just one notch below sleep for me on the priority list.

As awful as I felt this morning I went out for a run and my attitude and energy shift afterward is impressive. So, believe me, this triathlon training is not entirely selfless. I’m getting a lot out of it too. I had several good workouts this week including runs where I wasn’t counting the seconds until it was over. I feel stronger and more optimistic than before and with the extra exercise perhaps I can better handle life as it comes at me. We’ll see since there happens to be a lot coming at me at the moment.