“I am at least a little bit alive right now and that kicks ass.”
QOTD right there.
Thanks, yeah I really felt full of piss-and-vinegar that day.
“I am at least a little bit alive right now and that kicks ass.”
QOTD right there.
Avocado's Number wrote:
This is the kind of thread that makes this message board worth a damn.
Good piece, keep it up.
Did some searching for you, don’t know your size but figured I’d drop this for you to check out.
After walking on Monday and biking on Tuesday, I felt like getting out for another "return-to-running" jog. So yesterday (Wed) I walked up a trail to a spot I measured last week, a flat-ish loop approx 1/2-mi (according to GPS).
I was feeling good, so I decided to see if I could do the entire half-mile without stopping. Success! 4 minutes and 50 seconds, thank you very much. And the crowd goes wild!!!!
Shockingly, I felt ok to do another, then another. I am so friggin proud to write THIS right now:
4 x 1/2-mi with 2 min rec @ 4:50, 4:56, 5:06, 4:56. BOOM
HR was 155-160, but back down to 100-110 each time.
Jogging at 10-min pace for half a mile at a time isn't generally very impressive, but I was pretty pumped. I didn't even notice my feet burning until I was walking back down the trail afterwards.
Perhaps the blood test was LDH (lactate dehydrogenase). Shows a breakdown in tissue from cancer. Interestingly I never had poor blood values including LDH, but that is common for some lymphomas. Like mine you know nothing is wrong until a lump pops up somewhere.
Interesting. Mine was a normal body hormone, which for some crazy reason is actively & excessively produced by this particular type of cancer's metabolic process. So it's a telltale sign and a key "blood marker."
It's been a big week. "Return to running" workouts this week:
Wed: 4 x 1/2-mi (trail) with 2 min rec @ 4:50, 4:56, 5:06, 4:56
Fri: 5 x 75m uphill strides
Sun: 4 x 1/2-mi (trail) with 2 min rec @ 4:45, 4:22, 4:36, 4:44. Pace was a bit fast, but my recovery was fine.
Other days were 3-mi walking or 5-6 mi biking.
Sub-8 Mile wrote:
Running and Life, or, Running versus Death
Sub-8 Mile's Battle-o-Rama
(maybe this story will, in some way, help someone you know; if so, that's cool. oh, and F Cancer.)
Late January, 2016.
There is a massive blizzard. It snows over two feet.
I’m in my cottage waiting for my appointment day to arrive, so I can find out whether I still have cancer. Technically, I’m snowed in, but I don’t care. It’s a difficult journey to get to the kitchen or the bathroom, so I’m not about to leave the house anyway.
Months ago, when they found the tumor, they tested my blood for hormones released by the cancer. They said that normally the levels would be zero, or maybe three max … units of something. They said that if the levels were above that, it would be an indicator of active cancer. If the levels were above 100, that would be serious cancer. If the levels were above 1000, that would be very serious cancer. My levels were above 5000.
I wonder what my levels are now.
Days later, the snow is still there, outside the cottage, keeping me trapped from leaving. I was hoping it would disappear, but there it is.
I’d like for the cancer to have disappeared. I don’t know if it’s still there, preventing me from living, keeping me trapped in this routine of doctors and poison.
I have to go to my appointment tomorrow; today, it’s time to shovel. The two feet of snowfall has compacted into 16 inches of heavy snow on my driveway. With no energy to curse, I scoop and push the weighty shovelfuls. I gasp and grunt. My skin is too deteriorated to make sweat. I work slowly and deliberately for 10-15 minutes at a time, taking 30-40 min breaks. My heart rate soars. This probably isn’t in line with doctors’ orders.
It doesn’t occur to me to quit. A workout is a workout. You know when you start, that it will be long and that you will suffer. At every point in the workout, you know what you are doing right now, what you have done so far, and what you will be doing next. With each running step, each labored inhalation, each completed repeat, you see the end and you work towards it.
And so this is my workout. The sun works its way across the clear winter sky. I shovel, heave, rest. Many times, I nearly collapse from dizzy exhaustion. Nearly. But not quite. Because I’ve been here before; I know the edge; I know how to push it.
“You will always recover.” Did I say those words? Just now? Did someone say them to me? Long ago, when? In my late afternoon near-delerium, the world is spinning, the driveway is my track, and the square meters of snow are the measure of my remaining workout.
I start at 10 in the morning, and the driveway is finally clear at dusk. Exhausted, I sink into bed and sleep.
The next morning, I drive to the cancer center. I walk very slowly into the doctor’s office … I don’t want to hear this news, because if there is cancer then it will be the end. I forget that I was strong enough to shovel the driveway yesterday.
I don’t feel fear. Right now, I am too tired to feel actively afraid. I am simply reluctant to rush forward and learn that it’s over.
In the office, the staff looks at me without speaking. I am directed to a room.
I sit. I wait.
5 minutes is like 5 hours.
Right now I am neither alive nor dead. I am in limbo. Soon, I will discover what there is to know, and then perhaps I will feel something.
The oncologist enters. She has a manila folder in her hands. She opens it on the counter, with her back turned to me.
She takes out some papers, and turns around to face me.
She is beaming.
There is no cancer. The tumor is gone, destroyed as if it never existed. My blood levels are normal. There is no trace of cancer anywhere in my body.
You should be cured now, says my oncologist. We never use that word with cancer, because it can possibly return, but with the amount of treatment that you were able to do, and with there being absolutely zero detectable cancer at this point, this is very likely a cure. She smiles with her accomplishment. She knows that this patient will not be back.
I am elated.
The doctor leads me outside the room, into the main area, where the patients are all receiving their treatment. All the staff are waiting. They announce and cheer. It’s incredible! "The guy doing all the chemo" is cancer-free!!
Somebody rings the bell, loudly and proudly. Everyone claps. Hugs all around. Here in the cancer center, this is a rare happy moment for all to share. The other cancer patients -- sitting in a wide arc of armchairs, hooked up to their various poisons -- all have bright smiles and hope in their hearts. If that guy could do it, so could they.
A new celebrity, I go around shaking hands and saying words of encouragement.
More high-fives, then I jubilantly stride out of there.
Until I run out of gas in the lobby. I sit down in a chair for 10 minutes, then I get myself up and make my way to the exit at a more realistic cancer-patient walking pace.
Yesterday’s workout in the snow is long forgotten, like it never happened. I am thinking about the big workout, the 4 multiday repeats of intense heavy-duty poison, done over a period of months.
I realize that I have completed this test. I did it. I won.
As I drive down the street, tears stream down my face as I roar in triumph and pound the roof of the car. “YEAAHHHH!!!”
Little do I know … this feat of suffering and survival, this test of determination and endurance that pushed me to the point of failure just as I finished, this was the only the warmup.
Amazing. Please keep it coming.
This past week's training log:
No running. After 3 "running" sessions last week, I thought I'd stick to biking and walking this week, and then try running some again next week.
Mon - walk 3 miles
Tue - bike 7 miles
Wed - bike 22 miles (that was a lot for me and I was exhausted)
Thu - bike 9 miles (very tired from yesterday)
Fri - walk 1.5 miles (sore during walk)
Sat - OFF
Sun AM - walk 1.5 miles, slow pace (still tired from biking)
Sun PM - bike 3.5 miles
Starting to get a little muscle in my legs. I'm still skinny-fat, but my weight is down to 174 from 182 earlier this spring.
I'm exhausted, though. Normally post-cancer, I'm tired all the time. Not sleepy, but some kind of persistent, latent tired feeling. Right now, with all this exercise, I'm pooped.
It's not like it's a ton of training, and it's not like I can't actually do what I'm doing. But last night I slept for 11 hours and I was tired from the moment I got out of bed this morning.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not interested in being whiny about it. Just saying, wow man I am dang tired! Even though I'm so well rested that I couldn't sleep a wink right now if I tried. So it's kinda weird.
Last week's training: Three return-to-running "workouts for a total of 7 miles, plus I biked 50+ miles in a week for the first time. This morning (Mon), I am a little sore but man it feels good.
Mon AM - walk 2 mi easy pace, bike 1 mi, run 2 x 10’ with 1’ rec, 5 x 2’ with 1’ rec. Pace was around 10 min/mi or so. Was planning on 3 x 10’ but after 2’ into the 3rd rep it was too difficult, so I broke up the last 10’ into 5 x 2’. Bike 1 mi cooldown.
Mon PM - bike 3½ mi
Tue AM - walk 1.5 mi, easy pace
Tue AM2 - bike 11 mi
Tue PM - bike 11 mi
Tue PM2 - bike 3 mi
Wed AM - bike 2 mi, 4 x ½-mi on lightly-rolling trail, with 2’ rec @ 4:50, 4:49, 4:56, 4:53
HR was 160-165, back down to 105-115 between reps. bike 1 mi cooldown.
Wed Noon - bike 7 mi
Wed PM - bike 3½ mi
Thu AM - bike 3½ mi
Thu PM - bike 1½ mi
Fri - 3½ mi bike
Sat - run approx 1½ mi on rolling trail @ approx 9:40 pace
4 x approx 150m hills, 10% grade gravel road, 2’ walk down rec. 49, 42, 45, 45. Went a little easy on the first one; the 2nd was too fast to do all reps at that effort.
Sun - OFF
Total walking - just 3.5 mi
Total biking - 52 mi
Total running - 7 mi
Thinking about it, I don't know if those hills last Saturday could have been just 150m. If so, I was pretty slow. Gonna go back and get a better measurement (I got 150m from an online GPS map) ... I'd expect it's really closer to 200m. Will verify one way or the other.
Fantastic thread. Keep it going!
Last week I wasn't able to do much.
Mon - OFF, sore
Tue - OFF, sore
Wed - something like 50-100 lunges, throughout the day
Thu - 200+ lunges, throughout the day
Fri - 100+ squat-jumps, throughout the day
Sat - 1.5 mi walk
Sun AM - 1.5 mi walk
Sun PM - 1.5 mi walk