Winning the Lottery

A relative sent me an email yesterday. In it, she described a recent dream. We all had lottery tickets and we were checking the numbers. In her dream, as we checked numbers, it became apparent to her that I had won. As I read the email, it made me smile. I automatically thought, “Well, yes, because I have won a metaphorical lottery of life!”

I am healthy, and no one can underestimate how blessed that makes me feel. I have extended and immediate family I love so deeply. I have an amazing network of friends who know every detail of my life, the good and bad, and still love me anyway. Out of my experiences over the last year and two months, I have become part of a network of people who have been affected by pancreatic cancer in some way. I have never met a group of people more kind, loving and giving. I have never met a bad person through my connection to pancreatic cancer. I always wonder if experience with this illness somehow transforms people to make them better human beings, who are more loving, giving and appreciative of what they have than the “normal” population.

Through my personal writing, I became involved with the organization Project Purple. I have been writing a blog for them for the last couple of months. Every single interview I have done for Project Purple has been so inspirational and moving. Each family’s story is unique. Every person I get the chance to talk to makes me feel so grateful that there are selfless people who are so genuinely motivated to make the world a better place for others.

I am so excited to announce that I am bringing a Project Purple affiliate to Colorado. We will be hosting a 5k fundraiser in Colorado Springs on April 26th. We will also be working with Boomer Cover to assist with his golf tournament “The Doc Cover Golf Classic” in June in Pueblo, CO. Boomer Is an amazing young man who I wrote about recently for the Project Purple blog. I was so moved by his love for the father he lost to Pancreatic Cancer in 2007. Boomer was only 22 when his father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As we were talking, I kept thinking how he was not that much older than Riley. My heart ached for his loss, but I was incredibly inspired by how he chose to take action to honor his father. I am looking forward to working on these events and other programs that will be announced in the future. You can find the Project Purple Facebook page here:

I feel so fortunate to be a part of an organization filled with wonderful people who are all dedicated to changing the trajectory of pancreatic cancer. I have written before about struggling with survivor’s guilt. I have wondered why I am here, when so many other amazing people were not lucky enough to make it. Through my involvement with Project Purple, I hope to contribute something meaningful for those affected by Pancreatic Cancer. Out of the worst circumstances in life, we have the opportunity to grow and impart meaningful positive change in the world. I am lucky that I am well enough to be able to make some good come out of the bad. I am thankful for the opportunity to do so.

In other news, my come back to running continues. With the help of a 17 mile run last weekend in Cheyenne Canon and an 18 mile run on Saturday in Monument at the Team CRUD club run, I brought my weekly mileage up to around 75 miles. I have been doing some intervals once per week to try to get my fitness level back. I also have been doing weights twice per week, and have committed to doing core work every day for a minimum of ten minutes. I lost so much strength after my surgery and through chemo, and am trying to build it back up. Progress is slow but if I just keep plugging away at it, it will come.

photo courtesy of Meghan Cogswell

photo courtesy of Meghan Cogswell

Picture from Team CRUD run, courtesy of Tracey Anderson

Picture from Team CRUD run, courtesy of Tracey Anderson

Photo courtesy of Tracey Anderson

Photo courtesy of Tracey Anderson

I am feeling lucky these days. So many good things are happening. So, yes, while I have won no money (cancer sure is expensive), I do feel like I have won the lottery in so many other, more meaningful ways.


2 thoughts on “Winning the Lottery

  1. Congratulations on bring Project Purple to Colorado! You will do great things for many years! Also, I’d like to say you’ve inspired me to get back my fitness and strength. I’ve allowed too many excuses when I have none. Kinda made me sit up when you talk about your mileage, weights, intervals (intervals! Ugh, the WORST) AND core work. Just go and take life by the horns. You certainly have.


    • That is so awesome! Good for you. Believe me,I have struggled with motivation in a big way this year. It has been a challenge. I am working on goal setting and making myself accountable to give me the push I need. I also remind myself when I feel unmotivated that I am working on my own “health insurance” by taking good care of myself. I think one of the big reasons why I have done so well long-term is because I went into my illness in good condition. Proud of you for making a commitment to yourself.


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