Another two weeks of ups and downs. On one of my runs last week, as I struggled to manage my heart rate on an easy and very slow effort run, I realized just how much work I will have ahead of me once treatment ends. I really haven’t had a good season of racing for quite a while. During 2015 and then 2016 I happily made my focus about my daughter and her wedding. This was supposed to be “my year”. Well, we all know how 2017 is going.
As I thought about getting back to my previous level of fitness I realized that it would be best to get myself a coach to work with. It’s been a very long time since I worked with a coach for myself, not since the 2007 season The first person who came to mind is someone I’ve gotten to know because of the Coeur Sports Ambassador Team that I’m part of — Sonja Wieck, the founder of Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching.
I’m staying active, swimming between 2,000 and 2,500 meters about three times a week, running about three times a week and biking twice. While I am grateful that I am able to get out and do these things, and I accept that my body is fighting more important battles at the moment, it’s sometimes frustrating and even a bit depressing to see how slow I am when I compare myself to what I was able to do before my surgery in April.
Some pics, just because I can still find time for me to enjoy the summer. Everyone should have this much fun at an 80th birthday party! Happy birthday, Lou Hansen.
On the treatment front, I survived the first 4 rounds of chemotherapy and 5 is coming up this Wednesday. I have had minimal side effects to the “AC” (Doxorubicin and Cyclophosphamide) portion of my treatment. A change came last Saturday when I woke up with horrible sensations in my feet and even worse in my hands. The only way I can describe it is that my feet felt like I had run a really hard marathon and my hands felt like I had carried too many of those plastic supermarket shoppings bags that were heavy. Not life-altering but definitely a difficulty. A couple of times it was so bad I found myself with a headache as a result. Calls to the doctor’s office led me to learn that there really isn’t much that can be done about it, I just have to suffer through the temporary neuropathy. When asked by the doctor’s office if I was in pain, I couldn’t say yes — I’ve done much worse to myself by my own doing in the past, and quite often I’ve paid a lot of money to do so. The only possible treatment offered was acupuncture, which I had scheduled for last Thursday with my long time friend, Shelby Sickles of Harmonious Balance. The neuropathy in my feet is greatly minimized and my hands are better, although the right still bothers me more than the left hand. I realize all this can change once we have another round of chemo, but I’ve scheduled acupuncture for once a week at least through the rest of my treatments, the last of which is on August 15.
Which brings me to treatment #5 this coming Wednesday. This starts the switch to the Taxol (Paclitataxel) treatments. The actual “drip” part of this treatment is much longer than the first four of AC which had been described as taking an hour, but in reality was more like two hours in the room and an hour and a half with an IV in my arm. Lots of questions floating around in my head: will I be one of the “rare” patients who are allergic to the drug? Apparently, Taxol can cause a very quick and severe reaction if I am allergic. So much so that first I’ll be heavily dosed with Benadryl and then have a nurse sitting in the room at the ready just in case. Add to that the fact that I truly don’t remember the last time I sat still for four or even three hours and it’s all something I just can’t wait to start. And yes, I am being sarcastic. I actually had a thought today on my run — I wonder if I could bring my bike and a trainer to pass the time? I mentioned this to Bryan, he just shook his head and said no.
More “good” news to add — continuing in my “GSD” fashion, I’ve managed to get my radiation set-up and treatments on the calendar. The “simulation” appointment is on August 21st and my first of 20 rounds of radiation will start on August 28th. Twenty business days of treatments should bring this all to a close on September 25th. Radiation brings a whole other set of risks and issues, but I’ll deal with them after I see how this Wednesday goes and how “lucky” I continue to be.
Something I am truly looking forward to — a trip to Lake Placid to spectate at IRONMAN Lake Placid. Yes, this is the race I had planned on doing this year and was looking forward to training for with my friend Ben. That training together didn’t happen except for some swim workouts, with abbreviated distances and pacing on my part. But, I’ll be there to cheer for him and so many other friends. I also hope to get some swims and bikes and runs while I’m there, maybe even a paddle or two. But, I am especially excited that I will still be able to work with Mike Reilly at the finish line, doing my part to make sure that everyone who crosses that finish line hears the magic words “You are an Ironman!”