Sunday, December 29, 2013

A year of running and a cancer diagnosis.

I am a 44 year old married mother of two. I started running when I was 28. I spend my spare time running the trails of Colorado with my husband and my friends. The year 2013 has been a year of highs and lows. I ran three ultra marathons this year. In April, I was fourth female at the cheyenne mountain 50k. In July, I ran my first 100 mile race. I finished in 22:33 in the Vermont 100,  which was good enough for tenth female overall. Two months later, I ran a 100k race and was third overall and first female. 
Race number pick up from the vermont 100

My husband and I at the finish of the vermont 100. 

  Sometime in between the Vermont 100 and the Bear Chase 100k, I started feeling very tired and felt like I had some difficulty breathing normally. I saw a wonderful doctor who sent me for a CT scan. This was when I found out that I had a pancreatic neoplasm in the tail of my pancreas. I was sent for an MRI, and then an endoscopic ultrasound. I was told that, while the doctors thought it was premalignant, it needed to come out ASAP. I was scheduled for surgery in November of 2013.
   I ended up having a distal pancreatectomy and splenectomy. I spent five days in the hospital after my surgery. I have an incision from my chest to my belly button. It was on the day of my discharge that I found out I had pancreatic adenocarcinoma, aka pancreatic cancer. I was "lucky" because while the diagnosis was not a good one, mine was caught early. 

Here is my scar.

    Four weeks out from the surgery, I was cleared by my surgeon to start running. A couple of days before the official month mark, my husband and I went out and ran a few miles together on a local trail. It was so amazing just to get out and feel "normal" that I wanted to cry from happiness. I have been packing in as much running with as many friends as possible over the last couple of weeks because I am not sure how I will feel over the next few months. 
My first run back after surgery!

  Tomorrow, 12/30/13, I am getting a chemo port inserted. I start chemo January 13, 2014. I still cannot believe I received a cancer diagnosis. This has been a very surreal experience. I know the next six months will be a challenge for my two daughters and my husband. I hope the impact on my family is minimal. I hope I can keep running through my treatment. That is my goal. I still think of myself as the healthiest person I know with a little touch of cancer. 

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