Monday, May 16, 2016

Back to "normal"

Life after chemo - it is slowly getting back to normal for mom. Her hair hasn't been growing back as fast this time...but it is growing back. She still wears her hats and her wig... although now that it is warmer she is finding that t
Mom and sister Rosemary and sister Carol at
Peoria Race for the Cure.
he fleece hat is a little TOO warm (if there could be such a thing) so she is going to make herself some hats made out of knit material for the summer.

Mom has been feeling well enough and has the clear from Dr. Porubcin to look into having her other cataract taken care of. She went in last week to have it looked at and the surgeon decided that her eye was in "bad" enough condition to move forward. It has been a year since she had the cataract in her other eye done.

Another perk - she will finally be saying goodbye to Lovenox and the twice-a-day shot in the abdomen! Dr. Porubcin gave the OK to switch to a once-a-day pill Xarelto to manage her blood clotting issue. That may seem like a small thing, but it is a huge change in her daily routine and overall comfort. For the last seven years she has been giving herself a shot of Lovenox (anti-clot medication) in her abdomen. And the days when her belly was so sore and calloused, she gave herself a shot in the leg. Never mind she is a retired nurse, that is a lot of shots. I tried to give her the shot once, and about passed out, and I can't imagine having to give myself a shot twice a day. The one horrible side effect all of this chemo has had on mom is her continual development of blood clots. It has taken a lot to get them under control, and the Lovenox has kept that side effect under control. She has not had a problem with her blood clotting nor problem with clots in her lungs for quite a few years now and that is attributed to the regular Lovenox dosage. Now that she can just take a pill once a day, that is a huge step. That more than anything makes me happy that we can put some of the discomfort of chemo and side effects behind.

We will be taking some short road trips this spring - the McCann/Brewick reunion is coming up in June and then we need to get back to Peoria to see my dad's sister and some other family members. It's been too long. It's nice to be going on some happy trips instead of always traveling to chemo or the doctor!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Team McCann STRONG

Team McCann Strong!
The Komen Race for the Cure in Peoria on Saturday was great! Team McCann Strong ranged from 3 years old to 77 years old (mom is the oldest person!) and I was happy for cousin Laurie (breast cancer survivor) I could tell that she felt good and was proud to be wearing a pink survivor shirt.

Mom walked the entire 3.1 mile route and I caught a snapshot of her and cousin Alaina crossing the finish line! Cousin Jane gets all the props for bringing our McCann Strong team together and I haven't heard our FINAL fundraising number but I think we reached almost $2,000!

The thing that is most important is having family and friends to support cancer patients - from diagnosis to treatment to recovery. While waiting to start the 5K run I had some conversations with breast cancer survivors and realize how far we have come with diagnosis and preventative measures... and yet it still is not enough. One woman I talked to who (breast cancer survivor) said that ever since her diagnosis she has not stopped talking about cancer and the importance of being your own health advocate and finding support from an organization like Komen. She actually pushed me throughout the entire race and we both finished at 27:45ish and she was the first survivor to cross the 5K run finish line from what I heard the other race officials say. I thought that was pretty cool.

There's a lot to be said for hearing someone's story and journey with cancer. It makes me a more humble person and makes me not take my health and abilities for granted. There's a lot to be said for being a part of a supportive community. This is not the same thing -  but in my weekly workout group I have found support from people that has made me a stronger person, therefore in the same thread, Mom has found a lot of support with family and friends and her church and that has meant all the world in her life as an ovarian cancer survivor.

I expect mom to have a very long life, and expect that we will be doing more races together in the future!

Running for Laurie, good friend Lindsay Thul and high school friend Claudine.

Me and mom pre-race.

Mom and Alaina cross the finish line!

Mom and sister Rosemary and sister Carol.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Running AGAINST Cancer

This Saturday I'm going to be at the Race for the Cure in Peoria again in honor of my cousin Laurie who is a one-year breast cancer survivor. Her story is one that makes a great campaign for early detection. She found it and got it taken care of right away. Our family formed team McCann Strong to raise money for the cause >>

I will also be running in the Race for the Cure in the Quad Cities coming up on June 11 for one of my best friends daughter, Lindsay, who was just diagnosed a couple of weeks ago with a rare form of aggressive breast cancer. She is only 26 and it is heartbreaking. Read about Lindsay's Journey >>

On June 18 I will be running in the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Illinois Chapter Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer 5K with my cousin Heather, an ovarian cancer survivor who is still in the midst of battling her disease. She is fighting hard and that is inspirational to me.

It's ironic that on Mother's Day this year is World Ovarian Cancer day and my mom is a 5 year ovarian cancer survivor. I am running for her as well.

I know I can't take away the pains of cancer, but I can raise money and run to raise money so why not? My two cousins, mom and friends daughter are fighting a battle that I hope I never have to fight myself, and if it takes more money to fund causes, research and medical expenses, then that's why I run. If they are strong enough to fight cancer then I am strong enough to run for them.