Monday, July 25, 2011

Chemo session 1

I am about to take the 4th dose out of 5 for this session. I would be lying if I said this was easy. It sucks! Best way to describe it is like being car sick or motion sick; not like you're going to get sick right away but you just feel off.
My chemotherapy is not taken by iv, instead I am prescribed pills for five days and take them before I go to bed. The idea is that I sleep through the worst side effects. The problem is it makes for an awful morning and it gets worse as the 5 days go on. I do this once a month for the next 12 months. So I am feling pretty crummy right now.
I am going back to work on august 1. It will feel good to have a purpose again.
Been feeling a little lost and aimless lately.
A lot of people have been asking me to do things in the fall or winter. Unfortunately, my chemotherapy schedule and my financial situation will not allow me to commit to a whole lot.
The best thing anyone can do for me during chemotherapy weeks is to help me out with dinner. I have to allow for 2 hours between dinner and my chemotherapy dose. The food tidings website seems to be gone. But just call, text or email.

Training tip of the week: sign up for whatever race you want to enter fee will go up and spots will fill up soon!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Training time

It was brought to my attention that we have under 90 days now until the half marathon on October 15. There are also other options in the baltimore running festival for those of you who are concerned about doing the half. The relay is an option that i know is a great way to put together a team while limiting the distance for each person.
The ideal training time to start from 0 is about 90 days. So we're already a little behind if you haven't started training yet, then time is now! We still have plenty of time to get everyone to the goal. The important thing to remember when starting is that distance is always more important than pace. As you go along picking up the pace will come because you'll be in better shape and much better equipped to add some speed. Remember the goal in all of this is to finish the distance; I hate to say it none of us are gonna win this thing.
There are 2 kinds of runs during training.
Maintenance runs= runs you do either 3 or 4 times a week (Mon.-Fri.)
Stretch Runs= runs you do once a week to push the distance you are doing. It is preferable to do these on Saturdays so you can allow proper time to hydrate the night before, eat/hydrate the morning of, and then relax/ice afterwards.
Here is the training Schedule that I recommend. Once again I am not a trainer so adjust this as needed.

July 18-22 maintenance run- 1 mile; July 23- 2 miles
July 25-29 maintenance run- 1mile; July 30- 3 miles
Aug. 1- 5 maintenance run- 2 miles; Aug. 6- 4 miles
Aug. 8-12 maintenance run- 2 miles; Aug. 13 - 5 miles
Aug. 14-18 maintenance run- 3 miles; Aug. 20 - 6 miles
Aug. 22-26 maintenance run- 3 miles; Aug. 27- 4 miles
Aug. 29- sept 2 maintenance run- 3 miles; Sept 3- 7 miles
Sept. 5- Sept. 9 Maintenance run- 4 miles; Sept.10- 8 miles
Sept. 12- Sept. 16 Maintenance run- 4 miles; Sept. 17- 9 miles
Sept. 19- Sept. 23 Maintenance run- 4 miles; Sept. 24- 5 miles
Sept. 25- Sept. 29 Maintenance run- 4 or 5 miles; Sept. 30- 10 miles

I recommend at least one week of scaling everything down before the race in order to let your body be 100% on race day but some people may need 2 weeks. You're maintenance runs should be 3 miles, no more than 3 times a week.

Don't worry about the fact that the schedule does not go all the way up to the full 13.1 miles. If you stick to the schedule and are capable of doing the 10 miles before hand you will have enough to get 13 on race day I'm sure of it. It is very rare for anyone to train all the way up to the full distance for any long race.

Here are a couple of tips to start off.

DO NOT skimp on shoes; it is always tempting to go to a discount store and try to get cheap running shows or to get the wrong size because they're on sale. Don't do this, you'll pay for it at some point during training; There are some good running stores that will get you fitted and tell you which type of running shoes are ideal for you (they will always tell you the most expensive ones are the best). You don't need to opt for the most expensive model but don't go for the cheapest either.

Stretch, Ice, hydrate and eat:
This sounds like the most basic advice in the world but taking 10-15 minutes before and after to stretch will allow your joints and muscles to feel much better during runs which ultimately allows for better form. If something hurts after a run, then put ice on it for 20 minutes. It makes a huge difference. After my long runs I actually take ice baths; if you can handle them they make a huge difference.

Allow 20-30 minutes before a run to hydrate/eat something; it really will help you to make it through runs.

I'll post at least one training tip a week with my usual post.

Anyone who has any questions should feel free to ask me. Good luck

Monday, July 18, 2011

This only takes a minute

Hey Everyone--

I really want to thank you guys for doing everything you have done for me so far. I want to say again, You really are the best collection of friends that I could ask for.

I hate to keep asking you guys to do stuff, but I'm going to, particularly when it comes to supporting research causes. My doctor has been up front with me in saying that I'm the underdog in this fight. I am confident that my treatment will work, but it is not a cure. My Doctor and I have discussed this in terms of it being a chronic condition. I really hope I won't have to, but the reality is that even if my chemotherapy is successful, I may have to deal with a brain tumor again in my life. The reason I tell you this is because I want to stress how important the research aspect of everything is to me at this point. I fully believe that it is possible to find a cure to cancer within our lifetime. Below is an email from the Livestrong foundation and essentially it is asking for support in signing a letter to the UN.

Did you know that six out of 10 deaths globally come from diseases you can't catch like cancer? And that we can prevent millions of these deaths with tools we already have?

This September, world leaders are meeting for a historic UN Summit on cancer and other non-communicable diseases. I just signed onto LIVESTRONG's open letter calling on world leaders to make the world's top killers a top priority.

Will you add your name as well?

If we can get 100,000 signatures before the summit, LIVESTRONG will hand-deliver the letter to the UN Secretary General and key Heads of State.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Getting Started

I have been back at my house in Baltimore for the last week and everything has been going really well. I have been able to resume with a light workout schedule, which has really helped with how I am feeling. It is still pretty far off, but I have made the decision that I will be running the Baltimore half marathon this year. My surgeon Dr. Q is running, and together we will be fundraising. Anyone who wants to run with us let me know and I will give you some details about the team we're putting together. I'm also willing to help anyone with a training regiment. While I am not a professional trainer I do know from personal experience what it is like to try to start from scratch and get ready for a race. I prepped for my first marathon after not being able to run at all for about 4 months. I am also about 20 lbs. heavier than I normally am and so my training has started off very light as well. I am going to be doing at least 3 chemo sessions between now and the race so there should be opportunities for people to keep up with my training regiment. Let me be clear I want people to run with me and Dr. Q but I don't want anyone to do anything they know they shouldn't or which will be detrimental to their well being. 13 miles is a lot, and I'm confident i can help get just about anyone get there, but I don't want anyone to do so in spite of their own health.

I am going to return to work this week and I will start my first round of chemotherapy on Friday this week. This is the tough part. The weeks where I am doing Chemo are very hard on me. I am tired, and just do not feel like myself. This is when I need reminders about why it is worth keeping such a positive attitude and how many great friends I have. I need everyone to remember that this is likely to go on for about a year and I'll need help the whole way. Right now I am still on high about how well everything is going. Everyone wants to help right away, but when I really need everyone is when I get 6, 8, and 12 months into this.

At this point I am feeling really great, unfortunately I go from feeling great to exhausted on a minute to minute basis so I am subject to changing my mind about what activities I am up for fairly quickly. So I want to apologize for times when I "flake out" on doing stuff with people.

A lot of people from out of town have asked about ordering dinners for me since they cannot be here to do so in person. I will put some places and some new dates on the food tidings website, so please check there.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Getting Back to normal

I have been back up in Baltimore the last 2 nights. Feels really good to be getting back to normal. I have another Doctor's appointment tomorrow morning where they will remove my stitches and perhaps set a schedule for my chemo schedule. I am hoping to get back to work some time this week. A lot of people have asked what I need people to do to help me. A lot of people have provided dinners so far and it has been a tremendous help. I want to thank all of you that have already done so.
I am going to set up the food tidings website again. Please feel free to sign up. If you do sign up I really enjoy eating with whoever brings the meals so try to allow for an evening where you may have some time to hang out though it is not a requirement. I enjoy everything except bananas so feel free to be creative. I appreciate everything that people have done for me to this point. I am still open to visits at just about any point. So feel free to stop by, just let me know before hand so I can make sure to be home. If you haven't been to my house before I am at 506 S Curley street, Baltimore Md.
The schedule will have more days added, particularly once i figure out the chemo schedule because those weeks will be especially exhausting.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Test Results

I just got back from a Doctor's appointment. The doctor had my oncology reports which was unexpected. The results were not good. Last time I was diagnosed with a stage 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma which is serious and fairly aggressive tumor. This time I am facing a stage 4 Glioblastoma which is a more aggressive and faster growing tumor. This is as high a grade of brain tumor as there is. I will be forced to undergo a regiment of chemotherapy again. I will be taking a drug called Temodar. This is the same form of chemo I took last time. Most likely I will take it for 5 days in a row each month for approximately a year. The good news is that there is no sign of the tumor remaining but this also means that there is not really a way to tell how effective the chemo is on the cancer cells. It is not likely I will be doing radiation this time, which is a good thing because that was the part of treatment which was devastating last time.
I'd just be lying if I said I was fine with all of this. I did this once though and I'll do it again, this time I have the advantage of having a better idea of what is ahead of me. This part of the process is the real grind and this is where I'll need all of you to help me more than ever. I am reluctant to take help so please be insistent. Not sure I am really up for talking about it because it is a little hard right now. The good news is that surgery was incredibly successful, there is no sign of the tumor remaining right now, but this is the problem with a glioblastoma; it is something which cannot be predicted about when it may recur. I am not exactly sure when we're going to get started on chemo but it should be in the next two weeks. I plan on trying to get on with my life as normally as possible during this process; last time I completed a semester of law school and trained for a marathon while going through this process. So I intend on doing somethings and beating this again.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Updates will be more regular from now on

Happy fourth of July Everyone! I am going to try to update the blog every week on Sunday from now on so that it is a little easier to keep up with.
I am back from the beach and hanging out at my parents house again completely open to visitors and invites to just about any event. It feels great to get out of the house every now and again although I get tired more quickly than I'd like to admit. Getting places is a bit of an issue right now because I am not sure when I will be allowed to drive.
For those of you who are unaware some of my friends got together and collected money and purchased me an ipad. I was blown away by this! Not only the gift itself but short period of time they accomplished it in. They also had enough left over that they donated approximately $500 to Dr. Q's research group. I am mentioning all of this because they deserve a lot of recognition. This gesture absolutely had a real effect on why I was able to recover so quickly.
This goes for everyone that has called, or stopped by, or dropped something off; You have given me so much to want to fight for. It means so much, I feel as though I owe all of you something which I never will really be able to repay. The best I can do is to never let any of this get the best of me, and I promise you any part of this I have a say in will be fought with unbelievable determination.
Thanks for everything to this point you have been an inspiration on what it means to be there for a friend.