Category Archives: Cancer Health

After Cancer Workouts

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How I Ran a Marathon One Year After Cancer and a Baby

Hi all! I get quite a few questions about how you can possibly run a marathon 1 year post cancer. The truth is, there are no shortage of survivors adding a marathon to their journey. The thought of a marathon may seem daunting coming out of chemo. Especially when it seems like a struggle to walk to the end of the street. I’ve designed a program that starts you off slowly, combining running and walking intervals until you eventually start solid blocks of running time. This is a 28 week journey which is longer than a typical marathon training program but it is designed for people recovering from cancer. In the coming weeks I will be posting a user-friendly, printable calendar so the workout schedule is a little easier to navigate. I put this up for now because I have had a lot of demand for my approach and don’t want to keep anyone waiting.

Training Tips:

  1. Be sure to talk to your doctor before attempting to train for a marathon. Let them know your approach. Everyone is different and your doctor may recommend taking it easy for a certain window of time. For example, I did not start running until I was off of blood thinners. Read more

Challenging my Body Post Chemo

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This past weekend I pushed my body YET again and double-dog-dared it to risk everything! Fear not readers! This blog will not be turning into a blog of “Look what race I did now!”. I will however, occasionally write about progress in becoming the challenger of my body rather than being the challenged. I do find it important to write about this particular race because it was a very different kind of race, pushing the limits of my most limiting side-effects. Read more

Cancer is not a Roadblock to your Dreams

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Questions. Questions. Questions.

Questions circling through my mind like a horse on a racetrack.

  1. How will I get back in shape after cancer?
  2. How will I be strong after cancer?
  3. How will I turn this experience into something good?
  4. How will I inspire others to go through cancer with strength and grace and come out a powerhouse?
  5. What have I always wanted to do but haven’t? (Many, many things! Haha! I’m a typical Pisces dreamer. Stay on track- focus on physical feats!)
  6. What will make me feel like I am okay again?
  7. Most importantly, how can I teach others cancer isn’t a roadblock to your life or dreams? Read more

National Cancer Survivors Day 2013

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Happy National Cancer Survivors Day fellow and future survivors!

Always remember cancer is not a road block to life. You can achieve your dreams and it’s never too early to start!

The real glory is being knocked to your knees & then coming back. That’s real glory.”
-Vince Lombardi

First Ever Marathon Post Chemo

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It’s the night before the Sunburst marathon and I just picked up my packet! This is going to be AWESOME!! All of my tooth and nail fighting to return to the healthy person I used to be will be tested tomorrow. It is unbelievable I finished chemotherapy one year ago today.

I run to regain strength.

I run to give strength to others to know you can recover after cancer and be STRONGER than ever if you are willing to fight for it.

I run to raise money for cancer research.

I run to show my little girl mommy is okay.

I run to inspire anyone who thinks they can’t do something. I had a baby, major tumor removal surgery, a pulmonary embolism, and aggressive chemotherapy last year. If I can do it anyone can! Never give up! Never, ever, ever give up.

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My First Race Post Baby and Cancer 10k!!

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First race post cancer

Pre-race: What a day!! Perfect running weather! As many of you know I have been training for the Sunburst Marathon on June 1st, 2013, to mark exactly 1 year post the completion of chemotherapy and I am SO EXCITED! I promised Ryan I would attempt one shorter race before attempting a marathon. He worries about me, it’s cute. :) Today is the day! My “prove-I-can-do-it” day. I am running with my sister who is also a cancer survivor! 10 year survivor and going strong!! Woooo Hoooo! You go girl! We are doing the 10k at the 5/3 Riverbank Run in Grand Rapids, MI. Start time: 8:00am!!

It’s go time! Off to the races!!!

Post-race reflections: There is something so special about the running community. It is such a great group of people. It was such an awesome feeling to run this race today. There were people cheering for the runners all along the route and I couldn’t help but smile the whole time I ran. I was so, so happy. At the 4 mile marker there was my hubby and little Gracie. I yelled “MY FAMILY” and Gracie let out a big laugh! :) What a joy it was to show her mommy is okay and doing something that requires good health. The last quarter mile I had tears of joy in my eyes. I was really doing this and it was a piece of cake! Holy Cow! Am I really this okay? It’s been a lot of hard work but I feel like I am very strong again and it hasn’t even been a year post-chemo!

Every time I see someone struggling to begin a journey to health out on my training route I want to yell, “YOU CAN DO IT!!!!”. I just had a baby, surgery, cancer, chemo, and a pulmonary embolism, and I’m doing it. YOU CAN DO IT!! YOU CAN DO IT!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!

ps: Big congrats to my sister for running and completing her longest race ever!

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Nutrition During Chemotherapy

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eating healthy during chemotherapy

It is very important to keep your system as healthy as possible during chemotherapy. With all the advances in chemotherapy side effect prevention, it is becoming increasingly easier to eat a wide variety of foods without “tossing your cookies”. I always had this vision of people withering away to nothing when facing cancer. I think it really is a thing of the past or at least I think it is for people facing my cancer. Either way, I remember saying to my family the day I started chemotherapy, “Okay everyone!”, “I am 127 pounds today”,  “If I drop below that at any point get on my butt about eating.” After day 1 of chemotherapy I didn’t see 127 pounds again until a good month after the completion of my treatments. My weight actually shot through the roof. I was so surprised. I never fluctuate in weight and I thought for sure, if anything, I would lose weight.

My focus during chemotherapy was taking care of Gracie, staying fit, staying very well hydrated, and eating the right foods. Eating good food, especially the foods I like was very difficult for me because I was on Coumadin. Virtually all of my favorite foods were on the list of items to “avoid” when on Coumadin. My oncologist actually encouraged me to eat these foods because they are an important part of a healthy diet. He just stressed the importance of consistently eating anything on the list and we would adapt the dosage of the Coumadin as we went along. The more consistent I was about my diet, the better and the less adjusting we had to do. After a few weeks of my PT-INR levels being all over the board I came up with a consistent plan of attack for eating “greens”. I am so thankful my doctor wanted to take this approach. I believe this is why I stayed so healthy.

The following is a sample of what worked for me during my treatments. It kept my energy levels up and blood counts in the normal range.

Breakfast:
2    16 ounce glasses of water
1     8 ounce cup of coffee
2    organic oranges
1     packet of organic apple oatmeal
1    organic apple

Lunch:
2    16 ounce glasses of water
2    organic carrots
3    organic celery
1     serving of spinach salad, bean salad, or a pasta salad loaded with tomatoes, avocados, and cucumbers

Pre-Dinner:
1     can of FRS, apricot nectarine
1    16 ounce glasses of water

Dinner:
2    16 ounce glasses of water
2     servings of organic broccoli
1     serving of chicken or a super food packed soup
1     serving of sweet potatoes

Bed:
1     8 ounce mug of chamomile tea
2    16 ounce glasses of water

Recipes to be posted soon. Stay tuned.

First Workout and Run Post Chemotherapy

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First Run Post Chemotherapy

I DID IT!!!!!! I FINALLY DID IT!!!!!!!

I think the biggest step toward feeling like you have conquered your cancer is being physically fit again. I have been taking baby steps in this direction but I want more. Today I finally felt like I was ready to take the plunge. For months I have been saying I want to do the Sunburst Marathon on June 1st, 2013. This date marks one year and one day post chemotherapy. One problem! I have not set out on a run yet. I have been very active, but no running. I have been tired from meds to help eleviate my itching and I have been suffering from some pretty bad pain in my feet and hands due to neuropathy.

It was warm today. Warm means perhaps my fingers and toes won’t go numb, turn white, and feel like knives are being driven through them. I have been waiting for this day for so long- the day I wanted to and could run again. I used to be a runner but I have been sick and honestly, I ran myself into the ground in high school and college so I have been on a running “break”. Other than itching I have been feeling pretty darn good lately. I haven’t pushed myself in a long time so I wasn’t sure if I could handle a run so I started out with an indoor workout. I did Jullian Michaels, 6 Weeks for 6 Pack Abs and felt great! After that, I looked outside at the pouring rain, grabbed Frankie, the dog and took off for a mile run.

OH WHAT A FEELING!!

The more I got into my mile, the better I felt. Just like old times! I don’t feel like I’ve had cancer. I don’t feel like my body is broken. I feel simply out of shape. Like I haven’t worked out for a while. The whole last 1/4 mile I kept saying out loud, “I’m doing it, Frankie!” “I’m doing it, Frankie”. HOLY CRAPOLA!! I’M BACK! I will probably feel like I was hit like a ton of bricks tomorrow but it is worth it.

I DID IT!!!!!! I FINALLY DID IT!!!!!!!

First Run Post Chemotherapy

First Run Post Chemotherapy