39:59

May 16

I really have been bothered by missing my 5k-in-40-minutes goal from my last run.  Those seven seconds have been chomping at me. So, in a fit of braun-over-brain this morning, I decided to go for another neighborhood 5k run late morning today.  Not that there is every really a *good* time for me to do it, this was certainly not optimal.  Less than 24 hours after chemo.  I had to take a nausea pill before I left, so I clearly wasn’t feeling good.  It was hot.  In the plus column, I had my normal smoothie breakfast, which is probably a decent pre-exercise meal. Sidenote worth sharing: I’ve had good success with prepping freezer baggies of smoothies in quantities of 8-12 and storing them in the freezer.  Basic recipe I’ve been using (with some variation): 1/2 cup of berries, 1 banana, handful kale, handful spinach, tablespoon chia/flax seed, pinch broccoli sprouts.  Each morning, I just put 2 cups of water in the blender, dump in the baggie, blend, and go.  It feels a lot more efficient than making them one by one, and it’s filling enough to be a meal for me. I ran.  I gritted it out with consistent pacing to finish in 39:59.  I barely made it, and therefore I’m so relieved I did.  It was HARD, people, so I’m damn proud of it.  However, here’s to hoping I’m able to make some gains in the fitness arena so that I feel more like an athlete and less like a cancer patient.  More muscle, less breathlessness.  I’m both, but I’d really like to wear one identity over the other, you know? So, I’m praying for fitness health, cancer health, lifestyle health, relationship health.  All the things, right? These last two runs have reminded me of that gritty, tough girl I was in my youth.  There wasn’t a challenge I wasn’t up for and working hard physically was my style.  I like that...

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Spring round up

May 15

“Your hair!” That’s what people I see around town yelp at me when they see me.  “Your hair!” they say. I’ve been growing hair since last July, so it has grown out into a normal-looking short hairstyle.  My cancer status is once again anonymous to strangers.  (Many people incorrectly assume you are healthy if you have hair.)  Also, seeing a formerly bald person with hair is quite a shock, hence the yelping.  It is nice to go outside in the hot weather with no hat and to not have my head get sun burned.  A small thing, but it’s significant to me.  Wind in your hair is a wonderful sensation. This month I also have some purple/blue streaks in my hair.  Maren turned ten in April, so she and I went to our salon on March 31 where we she had the peekaboo streak of hair behind her right ear colored turquoise.  I decided to go teenybopper and get color in my hair too.  Now that I’ve been bald a few times over, you can’t really scare me with hair style/color.  What started as purple has now faded to blue and it has been a playful spring ‘accessory’.  Maren liked doing something bold and gutsy, and it was fun to see her dimple flash as people noticed it and commented.  She endured a little bit of unpleasant teasing at school about it, and she turned that into a good experience that tested her moxie: she likes her hair, and that’s what matters. Spring has been busy: Maren turned ten(!), Greta turned six(!), and we only have seven more days of fourth grade and kindergarten.  A new game is playing “Hogwarts”.  They wear old black graduation gowns around the house (hilarious on forty-two-inch-tall Greta), write amazingly creative and ingenious spells, and make both their imaginary worlds and my real world better with their games.  Maren made a broomstick (the Anderson 4,000) out of paper, tape, and leftover school project wooden rod supplies.  Greta wheels a mini suitcase around with her magic supplies and all of the stuffed owls in the house.  I haven’t been writing much because I have been both prioritizing other things and dealing whatever is ‘on fire’ now.  The girls are delightful...

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You’ve never seen Peeps like this!

Apr 17

You’ve never seen Peeps like this!

We had a great spring break and packed a lot in.  For the last few days, we stole away to Red River Gorge, Kentucky for some cabin camping, hiking, and adventuring.  We loved it, and it was so good to spend focused family time together.  Brad did a great job of organizing it from A to Z; it was a perfect little getaway. Upon pulling into the neighborhood yesterday, we could not believe what we found in our front yard: we’d been Peep’d!  (Who knew that was a thing?!) We think there were about one-thousand skewered Peeps on our front lawn.  We stopped in the middle of the street when we pulled up and the giggles began.  We climbed out and began to examine the scene and inspect the signs for signatures for whom had pranked us so brilliantly.  It’s still anonymous–so far no one has claimed this epicness!  Before I realized what was happening, Greta treated it like a buffet and had blue sugar smeared across her cheeks.  When she saw me laughing at her, Maren was quick to point out, “Don’t worry Mom!  Only some of them have bugs on them!” It was definitely a memory-maker event.  We left them up through the afternoon and it was fun (and funny) watching the neighbors drive by, slow down, ogle, take pictures, and laugh.  I texted a few people, looking for the culprits, and some friends came over to see it in person just as we were starting to pick the first Peep bouquets out of the yard.  It took ten people about ten minutes to clean it up, and I admit, it was bitter sweet… I kind of loved having that laugh-out-loud situation in my front yard and was sad to take it down.  (It rained — poured — not long after, so it was good we pulled them when we did!) We had a quiet Easter after the Peep episode with post-trip laundry, playing outside, lawn/garage maintenance, and general re-grouping.  Rozzinator’s and Chief Sister’s Easter Bunny skills remain unmatched; we are thoroughly spoiled. So… I’m still waiting!  Who is going to take credit for...

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The story of the shell with a heart

Mar 28

The story of the shell with a heart

A few months ago, Maren came whirling in from the bus on a blustery cold day.  She was spewing hysterical tears and choking on her words. I, of course, am checking to see which limb is missing, or whether her backpack is on fire, or if she has been hit by a car. It was that kind of crying. She was finally able to splutter out, “I lost my shell!” I’m thinking, “Shell?  What shell?”  And then I remembered. Last summer she and I went on a beach walk together.  As we walked and talked, we looked for treasures.  We held hands, we leaped over and into the waves, we bent and examined creatures, we carried a bucket with our keepers.  By far, her favorite thing that we found that day, and maybe the only beach treasure she took home with her to Ohio, was a small shell with a heart carved into it by the waves.  You know how often a particular shape of seashell (I don’t know what they’re called) ends up with a hole at one end … perfect for stringing onto necklaces (tell me I’m not the only one who has done that)?  This shell, however, was pretty special in the way that a heart had been carved not in the tip of the shell, but right along the face of it.  There is no reason the water should crush across a shell to form that kind of shape.  The majesty and magic of the ocean is always overwhelming to me. I remember the look of awe and delight in Maren’s face as the wind swept across her face and she examined it.  “How does something like this happen?” she pondered. “I don’t know Maren.  Things like this are nuances that defy explanation.  It’s in those strange and magical things that I see God at work.” She grinned and cupped the shell in her hand.  A treasure for a little girl.  She took it home with her, and she tucked it into a little silver box that she carries in her school backpack.  She often writes wishes, prayers, thanksgivings, and hopes and tucks the notes into her little silver box.  She’s a steward of the...

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Perfectly…

Mar 27

My sisters and I often say things “out loud” to each other by way of making it happen.  We know that if we say it out loud, then we’re likely to be held accountable when the listener inevitably follows up. (We’re annoyingly good listeners and communicators about that stuff.  It’s our mom’s fault training.)  It’s a good system, and we are motivated to get taxes done, apply for a job, or get a workout in.  Today Chief Sister stopped by for something completely unrelated, and seeing her reminded me of goals that I have.  As she left, I said, “If I leave in the next five minutes I can squeeze a run in before chemo!  Ask me later if I did it!” So that is the story of how and why I went for my first run in at least six months.  By runner’s standards, it was statistically pitiful in every way… but one of the cool things about runners is that everyone runs their own race.  And everyone out there running wins just for being out there.  So, that’s what I’m focusing on today: I did it.  It was perfect weather, and I was perfectly — ahem — badass. My nurses — some of whom follow me on the MapMyRun app — were happily surprised to see me running.  My counts are pretty low so my blood chemistry is continuing to be borderline for lots of things, but is holding just above the line where interventions would be taken.  It’s good because it means fewer appointments for me which is logistically convenient.  It also means I am continuing to get the full dose of the cancer-killing chemotherapy.  Believe me when I say I want every drop of that stuff to kill as many cancer cells as possible.  On the last cycle I had some semi-significant abdominal pain, pseudo-similar to heartburn, so we talked about some strategies to mitigate that.  On the whole, this treatment is better than the last treatment, but the side effects are still there.  I seized the moment to go for a run this morning, in part, because I knew an hour away from my next chemo treatment is the best I’m going to feel all week:...

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