Blank:Cancer

It’s October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. My family and I have been touched by cancer too many times.

That's right. We're Keeping Our Boobs.

That’s right. We’re Keeping Our Boobs.

And not just breast cancer. Cuz cancer don’t care.

As a person with Ulcerative Colitis, I was at high risk of developing colon cancer just by having a diseased colon. I was at higher risk of developing other fun cancers from all the chemo drugs I was taking, too. Fun times.

But now, no colon = no colon cancer. No drugs, either! Yahoooooooo!

Holla.

Holla.

Today I am healthy. My baby is healthy. We are lucky.

Not everyone is so lucky.

Through fellow sweat enthusiasts here in NYC, I was recently introduced to Will Lanier. Will is an exercise beast who works and trains at CrossFit’s Brick New York and is a fellow lululemon Ambassador. Like me, Will has UC and has sought out the best doctors in the city (ahem, holla Cornell!) to treat him. But, in a super-fun double whammy, Will was also diagnosed with cancer.

Being sick sucks. And cancer is a lot of things, not the least of which is $$EXPENSIVE$$.

Will needs our help.

Team Lanier, with the help of Saxon/Hart, lululemon, Stonehenge, Dane PCG, and some of NYC’s top fitness instructors, will host a FREE day of sweat this Wednesday.

BlankCancer.png

Click here for details.

Click here for the latest updates on Facebook.

Click here to read Will’s story in his own words, from the beginning.

I did say it was free, but please consider donating to Will’s medical fund (which, once it has paid his bills, will accept applications for others having difficulty paying their medical bills).

And it’s not just about cancer, it’s about UC, Crohn’s, and all the other horrible auto-immune diseases that try to take us away from the lives we want to live.

Go Team Challenge!

Go Team Challenge!

Donate here.

Get a shirt here.

Get a free body tattoo here.

If you aren’t in NYC and want to show your solidarity, print out a Blank:Cancer sign, fill it in, and post it on social media with the hashtag #BlankCancer #TeamLanier.

Outsmart:Cancer

Outsmart:Cancer

Get a sign here.

You guys have always been so supportive of my fundraising endeavors for IBD and I deeply appreciate you considering helping Will out. If you post a picture with a Blank:Cancer sign, please tag me or send it to me so I can compile them for a post at a later date.

You guys rock.

Now go out and run.

Ready or Not

I can’t wait to get back to blogging regularly. I have had SO many adventures these past few weeks, some I can share and some I cannot, but all really great stories that I can’t wait to write about.

In the mean time, I’m trying to rest for the big race tomorrow. Apparently, my body is ok with that since I fell asleep everywhere I sat down yesterday.

Airplane ride...zzzzzzzzzzz.

Airplane ride…zzzzzzzzzzz.

But this weekend is all about something you guys have been reading about forever. Tomorrow is my first half marathon with Team Challenge. This race isn’t about me.

This race is about everyone who has been touched by Crohn’s or Colitis.

Taking Steps with friends for all of you!

Taking Steps with friends for all of you!

This race is about all of you who reached out and shared your stories with me about you or your family member or a friend with IBD.

So many cupcakes, so little time. And all for a great cause!

So many cupcakes, so little time. And all for a great cause!

This is about my friends who can’t participate in their lives because they’re too sick.

This is about the runners who trained for this race but who are sidelined because one of the major side effects of IBD drugs is that it makes you susceptible to every other virus in the world and OF COURSE you came down with pneumonia this week while on Remicade.

Wish you were here in Chicago with me!

Wish you were here in Chicago with me!

This race, for me, is a love song to my family, to my friends, to my doctors and surgeons and nurses and PAs and RDs who fought like Hell alongside me. And this race is about all of YOU.

You who ran the Virtual 5K and donated to my fundraising page and helped me become the ONLY VIP fundraiser from the Greater New York team.

Party! Party!

Party! Party!

So, THANK YOU! I look forward to running my heart out tomorrow with all of you on my mind as I push for another PR in Sweet Home Chicago.

And by the by, you can donate through TONIGHT to still be entered in the amazing raffle I’m having. $20 = 1 raffle entry. Donate here immediately  You do not want to miss out villa for 10 in Acapulco. And who knows? I may just hit $8000 by the time I toe the line at 7am Central Time tomorrow.

You never know.

You never know.

Now go out and run!

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Forward

This year hasn’t flown for me where school is concerned. The opposite, in fact. It has CRAWLED.

Whatever is slower than a snail, that's what this year has been like.

Whatever is slower than a snail, that’s what this year has been like.

But when I look back at exactly one year ago today, it seems like it was only a few months ago and not twelve. One year ago today, I spent most of the day under anesthesia, in the OR and recovery room, having my colon removed to cure my Ulcerative Colitis.

Sent this the day after so Obi-wan didn't worry so much. See Dad? I'm smiling = I'm ok!

Sent this the day after so Obi-wan didn’t worry so much. See Dad? I’m smiling = I’m ok!

What a difference a year makes.

Last year, I couldn’t run 2 minutes on the treadmill before I had to jump off and race for the bathroom. Last week, I ran a PR in the half marathon. 1:40, thankyouverymuch. Oh, and I’m gonna kick ass in Chicago running for Team Challenge in three weeks!

Jersey, baby!

Jersey, baby!

Last year, I was so sick I was getting chemo pumped into my veins, iron IVs, and hydration solution every week. As of right now, I’m only on one drug, soon to be DRUG-FREE!(This probably means very little to anyone but Mrs. Obi-wan. Look, ma! No drugs!)

No more blogging with one hand and getting Remicade in the other!

No more blogging with one hand and getting Remicade in the other!

Last year, I missed just about every single running/walking/sporting event with my friends. This Thursday, I’m walking in lower Manhattan with my lululemon family and friends in the Taking Steps walk to spread IBD awareness. (Join me!)

Go ahead, ASK ME!

Go ahead, ASK ME!

Last year, I was terrified I wouldn’t make it through my first year of DPT school because of the two surgeries, the colostomy bag, or some other unforeseen disaster. Not only did I conquer my first year of school, this Friday I will be exactly halfway through my first rotation. And I’m feeling great about it!

Abby Bales, Student Physical Therapist and wheelchair driver extraordinaire.

Abby Bales, Student Physical Therapist and wheelchair driver extraordinaire.

What a difference a year makes. I cannot thank my friends, family, classmates, running community, lululemon family, and all of you enough for all of your support and encouragement over this past year.

I guess today’s post embodies all of what Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays are really all about: forward motion in the hopes of a better tomorrow.

I was scared to go forward with surgery but I did it and I don’t regret it one little bit.

I was scared to go forward with school, not knowing if my body would hold up, but I did and I made it through (with a little LOT of help from Birdie).

I was scared to come forward about my disease and surgery and all that but I did and managed to not only make new friends, but reach out into the IBD community to help other people struggling with the same decisions I had to make.

And no matter what happens, it is always better to be here than not to be here. I know that now more than ever.

Happy colon-free-iversary to me! I am totally colon-free and kicking ass!

Now go out and run!

My {2nd} First Run Post-Op

Central Park, I have missed you.

 

I have missed you, old friend.

There really is nothing like New York in the Fall. If you have any doubts, watch You’ve Got Mail. It’s basically a love letter to NYC throughout the seasons, which I just love.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I went running!

I’m sure that was what was on your mind when you woke up this morning. Not that silly little storm bearing down on the Eastern seaboard as I type.

Hurricane? What hurricane? All I see are whitecaps on my normally calm East River and sideways rain and trees about to get pulled out of the grou…OOOOOH! You mean THAT hurricane.

In my world, two successful post-op runs in a row is far more newsworthy than Sandy the Monster. Ok, that’s probably not true for anyone else but me but I’m gonna write about it anyway.

I ran my very first run back on my beloved Bridal Path in Central Park. I was greeted with cool temperatures, a quiet path, and the most beautiful scenery NYC has to offer.

Sheep Meadow looking very fine this Fall day!

Hello, gorgeous. Not the Bridal Path but I was too happy to stop and take a picture. You understand.

Sadly, Sandy is currently blowing away all of my beautiful leaves and trees.

Bitch.

I’m really glad I got two full runs in before this nonsense took over because several happy things happened on my run:

  1. I didn’t have to stop once, not for anything.
  2. I ran 1.75 on Saturday and 2.5 on Sunday.
  3. I feel great.
  4. My body doesn’t feel beat to hell like it did last time.
  5. No one ran into me.

Win!

I also saw one of my best friends on the side of a bus while running. Rockettes are preeeetty.

I spent the past two years figuring out how to run with this disease. When I was able to run, it was always interrupted by having to make a mad dash for the bathroom. Multiple times. Every run. No exceptions. It was not a way to live and it beat my spirit.

In a bathroom during an 11 mile workout, where else?

No more.

It started with a bag and Rosebud.

Me & Rosebud were a good team, though she often thought naked running was the way to go.

And now, it’s me and my pouch. 1.75 miles and no panic. 2.5 miles and no fear. For the first time since all this started a month ago, I am hopeful that I will be able to get my life back.

One run at a time. One mile at a time. One step at a time.

I’m off and running! How about you? Who knows–you might just spot me at a half-marathon sometime this Spring. You never know! In the mean time, you can find me at the medical tent of the New York City Marathon with my fellow NYU DPT students. I don’t want to see any of you there, ok?

Catch me at the Finish Line Medical Tent for a massage :)

Now go out and run!

(Unless you are on the East Coast, in which case ARE YOU CRAZY?!?! GET INSIDE!!!!)

Saying Goodbye

Tomorrow I go in for my take-down surgery. It was not supposed to be tomorrow but other complications are mandating I go under the knife sooner rather than later and do everything all at once.

2 ER visits = surgery tomorrow.

Well, ok.

The general consensus from people in my world is that this is a good thing. No more bag! So great, right?! I get to be “normal” again!

You wanna know a secret? Promise you won’t tell?

I love my bag. I love Rosebud.

To me, Rosebud has been a symbol of freedom and health in my life. Rosebud has given me confidence in my body that was dwindling in the past two years. Rosebud has allowed me to get on with my life.

Love, love, love my bag.

My J-pouch is a variable. My J-pouch might not work. It will for sure be a HUGE adjustment for the next few months, maybe a year, for my body and for me. I won’t have the freedom I have now with my bag. I won’t know what to expect day to day, run to run, class to class.

Saying goodbye to Rosebud is scary. It’s emotional. I don’t wanna.

Back to the bathroom. Back to starting over again with running after training for a marathon all summer. Back to figuring out what I can and cannot eat. Back to panicking.

But I know I have to try and I know I can go back if it doesn’t work for me. And I know that no matter what happens, JB is there, loving me with or without my bag.

So, here I go. “Starting Over”-type blogs to come. Sorry for being light on the running part of the blog. I hope to be back in business asap.

Wishing everyone great races this weekend, especially my friends at the Portland, Chicago, and Twin Cities Marathons, or last long runs for my New York and Marine Corps marathoners.

Thank you all for your supportive, moving comments. I’m looking forward to coming back and running stronger every day!

Now go out and run.