Saturday, January 24, 2009

13, A Lucky Number

"Numerology is any of many systems, traditions or beliefs in a mystical or esoteric relationship between numbers and physical objects or living things... Today, numerology is often associated with the occult, alongside astrology and similar divinatory arts. The term can also be used for those who, in the view of some observers, place excess faith in numerical patterns, even if those people don't practice traditional numerology." (1)

Numbers have an important meaning since we are born. They are important for Chinese, in alchemy, science, in the Bible, and, I bet each of you have a favorite number, or a bad number.

In most of our weekly reports, we, runners, post our numbers. At the end of the year, we, runners, sum them all, and post the grand total: numbers of miles we ran, number of races we participated, number of hours and/or minutes that took us to complete a race, number of calories we burned, number of colds we got throughout our training, numbers of days we couldn't run, etc...etc...etc...

Number 13 has been a very famous number. Though related to bad luck in many countries, it is also seen as a lucky number. We've been across the States in buildings that skip that floor; Friday the 13th is a superstition about a day of good or bad luck depending on where in the planet we are; Tuesday the 13th (Spain, Greece and Latin America) is a day of bad augury. I am not a superstitious woman, and three members of my direct family were born on a 13th, so there was no way that I could look at that number as a bad thing.

Yesterday I went to pick up my final cancer results, the oncotype dx test. A test that study 21 genes within the cancer tumor determining the likelihood of breast cancer recurrence in 10 years and predicting the magnitude of chemotherapy benefit. When the doctor came into the room, the only thing I asked was: "What was the number?" She said "I think I have good news." I said: "Please, just tell me the number". She replied: "13" and I cried of happiness.

13% means the likelihood of breast cancer recurrence in 10 years. 13% indicates that there is a low risk that my breast cancer will return. Any number below 18% is categorized as low risk. 13% also means that the benefits of chemotherapy is almost zero, so chemo is NO NEEDED. 13% means that after five years of hormonal therapy (tamoxifen) my likelihood of breast cancer recurrence will be reduced to 8%.

My favorite number will always be Seventeen 17. My brain will always register number 7 as THE lucky number as my dad always had faith in the 7th inning to get the Detroit Tigers ahead of the other team. But the number 13 now has a new meaning to me: 13, A Lucky Number, the number that removed chemotherapy fears and a burden off my shoulders.

To celebrate such a wonderful news, other than a glass of Chianti, I got out this morning to run. But I needed to run big. I didn't have a plan on how many miles to run, when I thought: 13%? Then the light bulb went on: I had my Half Marathon Celebration. What better way to celebrate a 13, than with a 13.1?

My total miles of the week were 22.9 miles. I feel so alive and thankful for my life, that running the half distance on the treadmill (35F and cloudy outside) was not boring at all; it was wonderful and I was full of joy.

I have a question for you: What's your number?

(1) Wikipedia


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Lizzie. I'm so happy for you. When you've been through something like this you come away with a whole new appreciation for what a great and wonderful gift life is. I can imagine it's almost like a rebirth. You've been in my thoughts and prayers. I'll spend some time now giving thanks for the good news. Can't think of any better reason to run a half.

Petraruns said...

I am just reading this before going out on a 13 miler I was dreading - it's cold and stormy and wet out there. But - as you often do - you've made me realise how lucky and blessed I am to be able to run at all and so I am going to go and run my LizzieLee 13 miler. Lots of love and hugs, Petra

Backofpack said...

Lizzie, Yay, yay and double yay! I'm so glad to hear you had good numbers, and so glad to hear you are well. Congrats on your 13 mile celebration too!

I don't have a favorite number. No number that means more to me than another. I've never really though about it. Hmmmm...maybe 2. My birthday is on the 2nd and Eric and I were married on the 22nd, and we are two and we had two boys. Two seems like a good number to me today!

Veggie bacon: Morningstar Farms brand. My family loves it and began requesting it instead of real bacon when I made BLTs. It's hard to get the texture just right, you have to experiment a bit with your microwave. But I think it's yummy!

Susan said...

Oh, LL - I am practically crying! I am OVERJOYED for you! 13% AND no chemo -- you are a rock star! Cancer picked the wrong runner to try to mess with! You are an amazing inspiration. Congratulations!

My favorite number is 8, I think, but only because I like to write it. Silly reason!

ShirleyPerly said...

Oh, Lizzie, I'm THRILLED to hear the good news!!!

And what a wonderful way to celebrate it. You are truly an amazing woman, in so many ways. I actually don't have a favorite number but remember getting 666 as a race number once and it turned out to be a good race for me and the number also won me a nice raffle prize so I'm glad I didn't request another number (some runners told me they would never wear that number). Good thing I'm not superstitious either!

Irish Blue said...

Gosh, I want to throw down the computer and jump up and down!!! 13,13,13!!!! What a new perspective on life and how very precious it is. Congrats Lizzie! You fought the good fight and you won!

akshaye said...

Congrats Lizzie! I am so thrilled for you.

Marathon Maritza said...

13 is definitely your lucky number, Lizzie!!! :) How wonderful to go out for 13.1 on such a great day! :)

I usually consider 9 my lucky number. :)