Monthly Archives: September 2012

Finisher, but Never Finished!!!

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When I decided to run a 1/2 marathon I thought for sure I would run only one.  Boy I was in for a surprise when I finished my first battle with no intention of being FINISHED!!!  That’s a dirty little “runner’s” secret (well it’s not only for runners). They, runners, don’t tell you about the addiction, exhilaration with the feeling of accomplishment, happiness and well-being that comes when you master an event such as a 1/2 marathon. Even if they did, you won’t believe them until it happens to you.

That is how I live my life.  I may finish something, but I am never truly finished.  I continue to evolve and learn from my experiences and accomplishments.

I completed my first triathlon on Sunday.  It was one of the best days of my life.  That sounds so cliché, but honestly it was a remarkable spate of time.

Lisa, Sue and Sandra waiting to get our swim on!

I am not a swimmer or cyclist, but yesterday, I was … I morphed into a triathlete!!! As terrifying as it felt, I now was a woman on a mission.  Once I started the race, anxiety and fear turned into exhilaration and incurable euphoria.  I was doing it…really, really, doing it.  After the race I met up with family and friends at the post race expo.  In one of the tents, I spotted a purple shirt with the following saying “Finisher, but Never Finished”.  Hello, that shirt had to be mine.  Off I went in search of someone who would take my money in exchange for a message that truly represented my journey.

My favorite tee-shirt EVER!!!

The shirt was from a tri kit company called  re{vici}.  I met one of the founders in the tent only to discover, he had just messaged me on my Long Distance Hero Facebook page.  After he read my story, on the Brooks Running blog, he was offering me a shirt with a message he thought best represented my story.  Ha ha…it was the very same shirt!!  As I was writing this blog I looked up the story behind the company…here is what I found….

What is {re}vici?  From the Latin word for “I conquered”, vici, we started to create something. However, vici seemed to imply we were finished, which is rarely the case. Anyone who has ever chased a “PR” knows that when one race is over, there is always another. Again, we will strive to conquer a new goal. That was it…we conquer goals, races, fears…OURSELVES…again, and again- {re}vici

Wow guys…what an inspiring company name!!!

My two biggest fans!!!!

Another Live Lesson Learned:  The world works in wonderful and inspiring ways most of the time, listen carefully so you don’t miss the knocking when inspiration shows up on your door step!  When it does {re}vici!!! Sue

I’m a survivor baby!!!

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Back in the saddle again!!!

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Back in the saddle again!!!

Yes, I’m back running and on my beloved Greenway!!!!!  I mean, I never truly got off the saddle, I just had to ride a different horse this summer.  The summers, here in Charlotte, are hot and humid… not a great running environment for someone on treatment.  Here’s the thing about that… what a great excuse to quit running… it’s too hot, I’m getting chemo, I can’t handle the humidity and this is the kicker… no one… I mean no one, would have thought any less of me if I sat on the couch and rested this season.  In fact that’s what they expected.  Well far be it from me to give the people what they want… I like to shake things up and that’s just what I did.

So happy to be “back in the saddle”!

Team Omega Nation to the rescue.  I knew this summer would be brutal so I devised a plan to keep me in shape and help me fight the fatigue of chemo… biking on a trainer. Lucky for me, so many of my amazing teammates are triathletes… finding a trainer and someone willing to help keep me on track was just a Facebook message away. So now that I had the equipment… I needed motivation. Oh right – the fact that I had signed up for the very first triathlon of my life before I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer.  Seriously!!!! So biking indoors was the perfect solution!!!!  An hour of biking a few days a week was always my goal… so my plan worked.

Omega Nation Team Sponsored by Brooks!!!

Omega Nation Savannah Race Shirts…Sponsored by Brooks!!!

After a long hot summer, the cooler temps were bestowed on us earlier this year.  The first chance I got, I was on the run.  Back in that saddle.  My first few jaunts were short and slow, but mentally fulfilling.  Then an amazing thing happened… I was taken off my energy zapping, nerve damaging, harder-to-handle chemo.  Perfect timing.  I knew this would allow me to train more and that’s just what I’ve been doing.  My week started with a 6 mile run.  I felt so free, strong, happy and cancer free during those miles.  It’s my magic place… a place where cancer cannot touch me.  Running is a gift and I love opening that present every time I hit the pavement.  I followed that magical week with a 12 mile bike ride yesterday.  Confidence that I can finish my ‘tri’ next week… check!  Now I’m not only in the saddle, but ready to ride this bad boy to the finish line.  The horse I’m riding is named Perseverance!  “Percy,” for short!

Lady and I…getting ready for a ride.

I am still on chemo and will be for the foreseeable future… not an obstacle that will get in my way. I will continue to change saddles as life requires, but won’t get off the horse.   “Percy” will take me to the Savannah 1/2 marathon this November.  This is the 1/2 marathon I signed up for after I was diagnosed… I had no plans to ever stop what I enjoyed most. Cancer does not get to take away… it’s only allowed to give.  It is a wake up call, a kick in the pants, and motivation like no other –  to live like you mean it!  Cancer opens doors that might otherwise never be knocked upon. It brings people into your life that you might otherwise never meet. And, it brings together a team of athletes of all speeds, abilities and successes in a way that inspires all of us to stay in our saddles!!!

Giddyup ya’ll!!!! Sue

 Beautiful Molly!

Shy Natalie…

Molly and Jersey showing us what they think of Cancer…Smart horses!!!!

Mary Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

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With Silver Bells and Cockle Shells and pretty flowers all in a row.

Healthy plants, rich soil, and a lot of love have made one beautiful garden.  I received my scan results today and I’m happy to say we have a bountiful harvest to celebrate.  Over the last 6 months I have worked tirelessly to create a strong, healthy bed of beautiful plants to enjoy.   The treatment I received, my strong will to survive, along with prayers and passion for a cure have created  a beautiful bouquet that we can really enjoy.  Now don’t be mislead… I am not cured.  There is still disease in my lungs, but the results of my last scan confirm that we have stabilized the cancer!!!!  As I have in the past, I will explain my results in gardening terms as I find that is a great way to visualize my progress and reason for celebration.

In gardening terms, we have not rid the flower bed of the weeds, but we have stopped them from growing and incorporated them into the landscape.  Studies have shown that the complete disappearance of the weeds vs. stopping the growth of the weeds and preventing new ones from growing is the same.  So this is cause for celebration. The results of my scan have also changed the gardening approach.  I am officially off the ever so toxic Weed-be-Gone. Instead of 12 treatments we are stopping at 10.  The typical length for this chemo is 8 – 12 treatments.  Due to the nerve damage it causes, stopping now is a great move.

I will continue with chemo every two weeks, but gone are the days of the more difficult side effect.  Yippeee…no more sensitivity to cold, numb fingers hip pain, or hair loss. I can’t promise I will get my memory back, but that’s overrated anyway.    Oh, and did I mention, I will be able to run every week…I’m so excited I could pop.  Watch out Savannah Half Marathon… here I come!  My next scan will take place in about eight weeks.  At that time we will see if my new course of treatment has kept the lung nodules stable…if so we will continue with this course of treatment for the foreseeable future.   This is one of many hurdles, but each one should be celebrated with energy and enthusiasm…I think you all know me well enough to know I never pass up an opportunity to celebrate.

Thank you to everyone for your positive energy, inspiration, and prayers. I am one lucky lady and I am so very grateful every day.   This garden is in full bloom…so don’t forget to take time to smell the roses!!!!

Thanks for keeping me smiling,

Sue