July 1, 2013

Run to survive, a training blog

Why I'm running the Chicago Marathon

July 1, 2013

I remember when I crossed over.

Crossing over is the moment when death goes from being something that happens to everyone eventually to that thing that is going to happen to you very soon. In short, you go from thinking about the rest of your life from increments of years and decades to days and weeks.

You make peace. Quickly.

If you reach a point in your life where you cross over before you are old and gray, then lots of things have likely gone wrong for you. That's certainly the position I found myself in on July 3rd, 2010. I was turning 36 that day and I was certain that I wouldn't see my daughter's 3rd birthday on October 9th.

I was in week four of an eight-week downward spiral that saw me unable to eat and struggle with a myriad of health issues ranging from wild 103 degree fevers to random skin irritations that have left me with scars from where I clawed myself in my sleep.

But the physical pains that were being encountered were nothing compared with the mental barrage the cancer was causing me to inflict upon myself.

The small hours when you can't sleep are spent self-diagnosing yourself via google. The nightmareish scenarios your mind will concoct are bad enough to make you want to throw yourself off a bridge.

Put bluntly, lymphoma is an asshole. It hits people in a wide range but seems to love to torment males between 20 and 40. Every doctor who saw me suspected that it was lymphoma, but suspecting something and knowing how to treat the disease are vastly different things.

But that was then. We made it through the darkness. But the ordeal never fully removes itself from you. There is no way you can ever fully escape the shadow of death once you have confronted it. So now I choose to run.

I run because I want people to be aware that having cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence. More than that, when you choose to be active in your fight against cancer you are choosing to remake yourself and emerge from situation a better, stronger person in the process.

After 24 weeks of chemo, I was a mentally and physically depleted husk of a person. I would blackout at a moment's notice — I could be talking to you or driving my kid to the park. It was hard to function and this was after the cancer was 'gone'. But two years later, I am back and now I am running my first marathon with the help of Team In Training.

The reason I chose to run for Team In Training is their tireless effort to support research in the field of blood cancers.

I had a very aggressive form of lymphoma that required alternative approaches to give myself the best odds of survival. Without fundraising efforts like Team In Training, many of these alternatives wouldn't have been available.

The standard approach gave me a 50% chance of dying. The alternative effort gave me a 80% chance of living.

Until we have a cure for cancer, we will need more solutions and more alternatives. When we have those things, we manufacture boatloads of hope.

Help me increase the odds for people now and into the future who will need someone to tip the scale in their favor. Help me give those mothers, fathers, sons and daughters more hope to cling to in the small hours of the night.

When approached by Team In Training to make the commitment to run, I knew I was signing up for something way bigger than me. With their help and guidance, I'm trying to become a beacon for those who are fighting blood cancers right now and into the future. With the help and support of Team In Training, I've already taken the first steps. But while I can provide inspiration to those in need, your donation is what will help find the cure. Whether you decide to give a little or alot, any amount can help give hope to those who need it most.

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