Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Let's Rewind. Marathon Week. A Total Different Meaning.

Marathon week (again) and sub-sequent weeks 11/24/08 - 12/09/08

How to write this? Let's Rewind. Marathon week. On Tue Nov 25th I had an easy 4-mile run. In few more days, I would complete my Seattle Marathon.

I was getting ready to take a shower when I felt a lump on my left breast. A lump breast? I called the doctor and asked for an appointment. Set for 3 days later, Friday 28th, after Thanksgiving. After the check, Dr. asked for another mammogram (previous done past October), ultrasound and biopsy if needed.

Checked internet, and found out that 80% of the lumps are benign. Why to worry? Yeah, nothing to worry.

Raced my Marathon on Sunday 3oth, and felt very happy for the achievement.

On Wed 03rd, I had a new mammogram, and nothing shows. Let's have an ultrasound. Ok, girl, you need two biopsies. What? Yes, one for the lump, and another for some calcifications I see in another area. When? Tomorrow the 4th.

Not to worry much. Much of the biopsies come out negative. 80% of the lumps are benign, remember?

On the 4th, my hubby's birthday, I went to have my biopsies. Had to go alone as he was in California and I didn't want to upset my son with news that could be nothing. Results? Monday the 8th, my daughter's birthday.

My son and his fiancee spent the weekend with me. Got distracted organizing pictures and videos. Not to worry. 80% of the lumps are benign, I have ZERO family history of breast or ovarian cancer; I consider myself the healthiest person on the planet (
with the exception of my asthma); I eat extremely healthy; I am not overweight; I don't smoke; I don't drink; I had a late development; breastfed my kids for a long time; I exercise vigorously and consistently; etc...etc...etc... Of all risk factors, that are a ton, I had the age, 52, and one that seems a new issue and it is not being addressed much: dense breast tissue... Anyway, not to worry, all the numbers are in my favor.

Monday 8th. I worked since 5 am to be free at 1pm (yes, you can do that in the company I work for). Noonish, a lot of anxiety. Went with my adorable son to get the results. Arrived one hour earlier. Lizzie Lee? Come in. My son held my hand really strong. Lizzie, the calcifications biopsy came out negative, but I am sorry to inform you that your lump is positive to breast cancer.

The world stopped.

Let's Rewind. Marathon Week. A Total Different Meaning. Yeah, it doesn't mean anymore the week when I was getting ready for a marathon. It means the week when my life turned around. From a marathon where I ran one mile at a time to a breast cancer "marathon" where I need to walk one step at a time.

My life has changed in the blink of an eye.

Important things: my husband is here with me now to hold me and to help me go through this; my kids are my inspiration to fight this; my mom will help me too; my sister; family; and my friends.
I will get through this, I will get through this, and yes, I will get through this. It will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I will get through this.

I have the oncologist appointment next Tue 16th. Then I'll know when and what kind of surgery I will have. Surgery will tell if I need chemotherapy or only radiation.

I have not told you guys, because I was planning to do this in my next blog, I was assigned in October temporarily to Italy for 9 months with the company (Petra knew). My departure was scheduled for January 4th, and some of my run plans included two marathons while there. Rome on March 22nd and Gletscher Marathon in Austria close to Innsbruck on July 5th. Not going to Italy now really doesn't matter, I have more important things to do right now. My priority is to get this done.

This past June I ran the Susan G. Komen race in Seattle, and felt so humble among all the survivors. I will run again with them in 2009, but from the other side of the fence.

I will get cured, I will keep running.

I promise.


ShirleyPerly said...

OMG, Lizzie I'm so sorry to hear the news. But truly this is nothing but a temporary setback. I work with two women who have gone through this and they are both still running, one of whom is faster than me and just told me today that her goal at the upcoming Run with Donna 1/2 marathon in Feb (a race that benefits the fight against breast cancer) is to win the survivor's category. Is that inspirational or what?

I'm glad you have your husband there with you. Thank you for sharing your story and letting us know that it can happen to anyone. Even perhaps me someday (I too have been told I have dense breast tissue). Take care and I'll be thinking of you.

Backofpack said...

Ah, Lizzie, this brings tears to my eyes. I am with you - you will overcome, you are strong and healthy in all other ways, and have a wonderful family, a wonderful attitude. You fight and you fight hard. Keep posting and letting us support you too. Hang in there Lizzie, and remember, you know how to endure, you can do this!

MarathonChris said...

Oh Lizzie, what is there to say? But you have the spirit to take this on - your approach to your career, to life, to marathoning is just what will get you through this as well. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Thank you for sharing - I hope we can track you through this marathon as well - and be part of your virtual support crew.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you are going through this Lizzie. I've walked through similar experiences with so many people through the years.

They have taught me that an event like this has a way of teaching us what's really important. Life's priorities change in an instant. Things we once thought to be important can seem trivial. Things we once took for granted become top priority. Life and those we love become incredibly precious.

You will be in my prayers. I know that your family and friends will provide a great source of support as you make this journey. There's an e-mail address on my profile. Don't hesitate to use it if I can be of help.

Anonymous said...

I thought the e-mail was on the profile. Sorry about that. I've added it.

I know that when you face something like this you are faced with many questions. I haven't experienced what you are going through and can't claim to have the answers.

But I have learned not to fear the conversation that results and have found my life enriched by sharing the journey with folks. So contact me any time.

Marathon Maritza said...

I've been behind on blog-reading...Oh Lizzie, I am so sorry to hear about this!

I know that you are a strong, healthy person who will come out of this on the other side, just as you said. You have a great family to support you and you can do anything. :)

You'll be in my thoughts with many good wishes, so make sure you post on your progress. I may only be a virtual friend, but I'd like to offer my support.

Kevin said...

Lizzie, this is way too long for a comment on a blog, but I wanted to share. I am thinking of you....

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the story of the mayonnaise jar and the 2Beers.A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar he
shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous 'yes’! The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.’ Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to Recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else---the small stuff.’ If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. 'Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your Spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.’ One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked. The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers with a friend.

Jade Lady said...

Lizzie - I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis. From reading your blog, I see that you are a very strong woman inside. And, you will get through this. Take care, and keep running...keep blogging!

Petraruns said...

Oh dearest Lizzie Lee I am so behind on my blogging and look what I missed. It's 5am and I'm sitting at my desk crying. But that's not the spirit.

You have done what Kevin's story is telling you. You always have and always will look at the golf balls in your life. YOur family is around you and with you. We are sending you all the vibes and love and warmth we can. I am so sorry we will not meet in Rome but consider it a brief delay - we WILL run a race together I promise you. The mountain might just have to come to Mohammed. Dearest Lizzie-Lee from across the globe I am sending you all the love and good vibes I can send you - let us know what's happening and what we can do to help you.

Big big kiss and take good care. YOu are in my thoughts and prayers.

Irish Blue said...

Lizzie, I'm so sorry. I don't know what to say. We're here for you and we're thinking of you.

I'm so glad you have your family to lean on. Thank you for sharing this with us. You are so brave!