Oct. 10-13, 2013
My first time attending the National Colon Cancer Alliance Conference!
Wonderful to be surrounded by such strength and positivity
from other survivors, all from different parts of the country!
Fantastic to finally meet some of my online friends face-to-face!
I'm happy to report that I just completed my first 3-mile run
(not walk/run intervals, but a steady, albeit slow run)
today since 2010 without tripping or falling! That was about the
time I had my first major fall during a run. My left foot started
failing to flex upward from toe-off in time to land on the bottom
of my foot insteading of falling flat on my hands, knees...or
face. Many times throughout the day, my left foot will either
hit the back or inside of my right ankle, or the tip of my toes
will scrape on the ground, or it'll just hesitate mid-air/mid-step,
and I'll either trip or fall. I've talked to my oncologist about
this problem, as well as a neurologist, sports medicine orthopedist,
physical therapists and a podiatrist--none of whom could definitively
pinpoint the cause of my foot problem. I contribute it to the
numbness in my periphals--toes, feet and fingers--from what I
believe is permanent chemo-induced peripheral
neuropathy. In layman's terms, it's nerve damage caused by
past chemo treatments.
It's aggravating that my foot has a mind of its own, especially
when I want to go for a run. No sooner that I'd try to run, I
would trip and fall within the first minute. It happened over
and over again for the past two years. I gave in and learned to
be satisfied with a simple walk or walk/run intervals. This year
was different. I decided I really wanted to start running
again, even if it was for a mile, maybe 2 miles straight. That
was my goal. So I experimented with different running gaits. But
today, my foot cooperated with my brain--I focused very hard on
rolling, lifting and flexing my foot every step of the way. And
it paid off! I thoroughly enjoyed my outdoor run at the park on
this gorgeous, sunny, 74-degrees November afternoon. It's the
"little things" in life that bring me joy and a smile
to my face!
Good thing I'm having a great day today. Cuz tonight, I'll be
busy fasting and prepping (bowel cleanse) for tomorrow's blood
work, CT scan and mammo. No colonoscopy this time around unless
they see something suspicious the other procedures. .I'll meet
with my oncologist the following day to go over the results. I
always get anxious before my annual post-chemo checkups. A few
days prior to my appointments, I tend to come across online posts
announcing the death of a cancer friend or someone else finding
out (s)he just got another cancer diagnosis and will have to undergo
radiation or chemo for a second or third time.
ask how I deal with my fears. I'm not scared to die anymore, at
least not since I was first diagnosed with Stage 3(c) colon cancer.
But the thought of having to undergo surgery and chemo all over
again brings a bad taste in my mouth. What hurts me the most is
the thought of my family and friends worrying about me.
I met with my oncologist today to get results from yesterday's
blood work, mammography and MRI. Both scans revealed nothing suspicious,
but the blood work showed my CEA levels (tumor markers) doubled
from 2.5 to 5. This is the highest my CEA levels have been, and
the trend is increasing. *The normal range is < 2.5. CEA testing
is used to monitor colon cancer. And not all cancers produce CEA.
An increase in CEA doesn't necessarily mean there are cancerous
or benign tumors present. *Other conditions that can cause the
CEA levels to increase include infections, inflammatory bowl disease,
smoking, pancreatitis and cirrhosis of the liver. Because a pre-cancerous
tumor in my colon was found and removed last year, we are playing
it safe and retesting on Jan. 14, 2014.
Am I worried about all of this? Well, I'm concerned that my CEA
levels are on the rise, but I don't plan to let this bother me
until I have a real reason to do so. Remember, part of
living is dying. The question is, how much of life are you choosing
to live each and every day? Positive thoughts!
** Happy, Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones! **