This is the longest I have gone without writing a blog post. Part of the reason why I have not written here this week is because I have been writing for a Pancreatic Cancer charity called Project Purple. Project Purple raises funds for medical research as well as to assist people who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Project Purple’s motto is “Running to Beat Pancreatic Cancer”. So far, I have been mostly writing features about the people who run to raise money for Project Purple. I am also working on entries featuring pancreatic cancer survivors. Each story is inspirational and I feel so honored to get to interview these amazing individuals and share their stories. I am grateful for the opportunity to help make a difference in some small way for the future of this disease. Please check out the Project Purple website, and read the stories on my blog page.
My writing is part of the good news. The other good news is that I had a CT scan on Monday and there are no masses or lesions in my abdomen, chest or pelvis. This is obviously great news and a nice early Christmas gift for my entire family. Each CT scan that shows no evidence of disease is a relief. I feel good about my odds for staying cancer-free about 95% of the time. I still get the occasional doubts and fears that creep into my thoughts, but they are fewer and farther between these days.
The “bad” news that I got this week is that what I thought was a minor hamstring injury is actually not my hamstring at all, but something altogether more problematic. The week following my horribly painful Rock Canyon Half-marathon, I decided to take some action. My leg has been hurting since I ran the Bear Chase 50 mile race at the end of September. I tried to rehab it a bit myself, but the pain would migrate. My hamstring hurt, then my butt hurt, then my psoas hurt. I could never quite pin down what was truly the problem. So I went to see a physical therapist this week. He asked me how my back pain was, and I replied, “My back doesn’t hurt.” He repeated his question, and then I remembered that I have a herniated L5-S1 from many, many years ago. Though the initial injury was very painful, I eventually turned it around enough that I completely forget it ever existed. My pain all makes sense now. I was experiencing numbness in my butt down into my foot but I guess I did not want to acknowledge it might be anything more complicated than a muscle issue.
Truthfully, my running has been generally pretty painful and not a whole lot of fun lately. Between the pain in my lower body and the ongoing issues related to my breathing, I sometimes wonder when running will be fun again. I have no answers for the breathing issues yet, which is frustrating, but at least I have a reason for my lower body pain. I figure that understanding the problem is half the battle. I hope that if I am diligent about following the physical therapist’s recommendations, I can at least be out of pain again in the near future. I really hope I can turn things around soon, as I have several races I plan to run in the coming months. I am trying really hard to keep my spirits up. I do not have cancer, and I am grateful for that. I just want to feel good again. I wonder if I will ever feel as healthy and strong as I used to feel. After my surgery and 18 rounds of chemotherapy, I was really looking forward to getting back to my old self. It seems to be taking longer than I thought it would. It has been six months now since I completed chemo. I had hoped by this point, that most of the residual side effects would be a distant memory. Unfortunately, it just seems like the fatigue and breathing issues are continuing to hang on.
In the mean time, even though I sometimes wonder why I continue running when it feels so darned difficult every single day, I refuse to give up. I have to believe that all of this struggle will be worth it in the end. At some point, things will improve and I will be so glad that I never gave up and did not lose faith. Finally, I got to run here this week, and it was beautiful.