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Extremely early. Very treatable.



So I'm trying to wrap my head around some very surprising news. Just got diagnosed with what my surgeon is calling "extremely early, very treatable" breast cancer. WTF? I have spent my whole life being the healthy one - not just because I exercise consistently, but because my BMI is good; my bloodwork is perfect; my heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol are low. Yes, I have health hubris. This stuff doesn't happen to me. Except it just did. I'm still not sure I believe it.

I'll be having surgery in a couple of weeks, followed, most likely, by radiation. So running will have to take a back seat for a little while. I'm expecting to bounce back fast though because that's just the way it's going to be.

In other news, I retired in January. (I know, such a cliché … retire and get a diagnosis 10 days later … come on, that's ridiculous). My big goal in retirement is LEARN NEW STUFF, especially stuff I think I'm not interested in. For example, I've spent most of my life "hating" science, so I'm taking a class about the 7 greatest scientific discoveries in history. There's plenty of science to make my head spin, but it also covers the lives of the scientists who made the discoveries - and provides historical, cultural, political and social context. The teacher is great and it's really energizing to jump into something so different. I'm also taking a class called "Learning about the world through documentaries. Each week there's a new topic, a new documentary and interesting discussion. Much more fun than working.

Also on the retirement agenda: leading a team from my church that's figuring out how to distribute $100,000 to nonprofits that are serving people who have been marginalized. We received a big gift and plan to put it back out into the universe, but want to do it intentionally and in a way that can help the most people. Very exciting stuff. Again much more fun than working.

So, as you can see, I have no time for cancer.

Now for the running update.

I ran the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon in December. Who runs a marathon in Mississippi?


Well, my best friend lives there now, right on the race course. (She always says she lives just outside of New Orleans. That word - "Mississippi" - kind of sticks in your throat). Anyway, it's actually a great race in a beautiful place. I'd recommend it to anyone.


It's point to point along the Gulf Coast - 500 ish people - well organized - really beautiful scenery - which you can't tell from this angle. (Gulf is on my right). 


 I had 21 consistent miles, then endured about 5 miles of suffering. Better than my last marathon where I gave up mentally by mile 19. It was a fun day, even though I didn't do as well as I had hoped. (I took three 5-day trips in November which was peak mileage time, so my training was really off … but I was hoping that sea level would pull me through. It did not).

Despite my bonk, I did end the race in style - wearing my friend's mink. (One of her minks, actually ... we are VERY different).


So that's my update. Looking forward to setting new goals as soon as this health shizz is behind me. 

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"I'm expecting to bounce back fast though because that's just the way it's going to be."

Damn right. Whip this like a "Wait, you DON'T do your cool downs in mink??" badass.

Seriously - sorry to hear the tough news, wishing you all the best for a very quick treatment and recovery. Being strong physically and mentally makes a big difference. Kick this thing's butt.  

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hi. as a fellow member of the cancer club, i know it doesn't do much good to hear what others think. But for what it's worth, just think back to your first marathon. It's scary and you don't know what's ahead. All you can do is line up and go one mile at a time. I think runners make the best cancer patients because you have a mindset to deal with the adversity along the way. And when you cross the finish line you'll be a better person for it. I'll be on the sideline holding up a dumb sign as you go by. Make me proud.

ps maybe talk to your doctor about autophagy.  My oncologist is super-smart and is pretty excited about it. Easy to do and doesn't cost nothin' ...

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I wish I lived closer so I could give you a hug. Cancer sucks and you’ve got things to do. Kick it’s sorry butt to the curb so you can continue being amazing.

PS. The documentary class sounds fantastic!

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This sounds exactly like my wife's diagnosis and treatment in 2006.  She's not a runner, but has an extremely healthy lifestyle including walking, yoga, and very disciplined eating habits.  A couple of years ago, we threw a party to celebrate 10 cancer-free years.  She's still going strong (her own retirement isn't slated until next year), so I suspect you will be too!

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Sorry to hear about the stoopidness but I know you will kick its ass. I’m so glad it was found so early. Please let me know if you need anything.

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Love all the retirement plans. Except the radiation. Keep up the great attitude and I look forward to hearing about your next marathon.

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Love your attitude about it, hate that you are having to waste all that great positive energy on stupid cancer. Your retirement plans sound amazing otherwise - congratulations!! 

And oh yeah, another marathon?? You are awesome!!

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I've read that a positive attitude is one of the top predictors of recovery from illnesses like cancer - you've got this!

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Mississippi in December is perfect. If one must run a marathon in December, it should be in Mississippi. If one must run a marathon in Mississippi, it should be in December.

My C is still a fuzzy question mark and I've lost friends as well (although more have beat it), so of course best wishes for you on that issue. Imagine this 20 years ago - you wouldn't know until years from now and there'd be little hope of getting through it. Medicine has come a long way.

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Uff da that really sucks. Sending lots of thoughts and good vibes so that surgery is an easy peasy success and that radiation doesn't take too much out of you. 

Gulf Coast is on my Mississippi list, so glad to hear you at least enjoyed the scenery. 

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From what I can tell, you can 'good health' your way past a lot of illnesses, but cancer is not one of them. Sorry to hear the news - but you will overcome!

I suppose if you always got a mink after a marathon, you'd probably have too many in a drawer somewhere just like the t-shirts.

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A mere roadbump- a tiny, terrifying hill to climb.    You've trained for this.

Sending positive vibes, but also some jealous vibes about your retirement activities.

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I am so sorry.. but if you have to hear the c word, the next words you want to hear are 'extremely early and very treatable'.. c doesn't discriminate by healthiness, seems to be more like lightning. Best of luck, I know several women who have come out of bc healthy and strong, you will be another.. 

the post-marathon mink is just wonderful. That's a really good friend.. 

I love the word Mississippi, even though I can't reliably spell it.. 


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