Sunday, March 25, 2007

Merino Wool Socks for Twenty Miles!

Merino wool socks have saved my feet from blisters....for a couple of years. I am in gratitude again for good ideas from the younger generation! Thanks Portland Son!

Twenty miles, Sweet Daughter Runner and I did on Gateway Trail today. Fog hovered over the ponds; the sky was cloudless blue when we began our training run this morning... Temperature about 60. Ah spring!

Geese looking for spring
Too early for egrets, but we saw mallards.. And lots of geese, of course. Only one horse, with rider, on the horse trail. Horses, cattle, and a couple of goats in pastures. No kitties this time.

Dozens of cyclists ... all ages.. old folks ... many children. Some in-line skaters.
Oh, and many many dogs on leashes.

We took turns occasionally hollering encouragement to runners.. and little kids on bikes.. And “cute dog” praise to animal owners.

SDR (Sweet Daughter Runner) and I drank water and Gatorade and ate ginger snaps. The Runner Dude rescued us, a bit, when we didn’t plan our water stops just right. Did he ever look good, running toward us on the trail!
Cherishing these precious days when he is free of myeloma symtoms.

We watched the clouds gather until it was nearly overcast when we arrived home. As we walked into the house, the weather channel (17) was warning “Thunderstorms, some severe”, the thermometer showed an astounding 70 degrees... Runner Dude greeted us with cheers.

Twenty miles.. And back home. Long shower, fresh clothes, hot buttered popcorn.. And a latte made by SDR (Sweet Daughter Runner)

FOUR PM .... The time predicted, all day yesterday, for the thunderstorms.
At five minutes to four, I kid you not, rain poured out of the overcast sky... as I sat, cozy on the couch, writing this account.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Love to Run Love to Run: Mantra for a Thursday

Love to run love to run love to run ... my feet sing, breeze in my face (well, from the community club circulating fan), and my heart monitor registering a respectable 155-160. Not running as fast as I would like to be, but I'm pushing now. Seniors don't have a lot of years to waste... but it is fun... I'm having a good time... running.

This afternoon we all ran outdoors: spring is a joy to cherish. Love to run.

A pileated woodpecker... that big lovely black one with red on it's crest... came dining on the suet right outside our living room window this afternoon.

Some of our friends have returned from the south (people friends, as well as birds) ..sure sign of spring.

This is a lovely day... for today, we can proclaim this the best day of the year. Let us rejoice and be glad.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Good Day for the Human Race !

7:30am ... And it isn't snowing yet! I love waking up by my internal alarm clock. The sun is just peaking up over the hill, through the trees.
The "Human Race", on beautiful Summit Avenue in St. Paul, begins just after 1:00 this afternoon. We have been anticipating this 8K all week, reading weather reports that promise snow today... by noon.

Whatever the weather, the "Human Race" is a great gathering of serious runner friends.. and a few people like our Runner Daughter and me... Doing what we can to have a good time and enjoying the best day of the year.
This Day!

11:15 ... Ho! The hourly weather predicters have modified their picture of the day, with snow/rain holding off until 9pm. .. Still pretty brisk temperatures for the afternoon.
We are calculating our layers of race clothes.. for the swiftest movement without freezing to death.
Breakfast was early and light, low fat.
Who will we see today? Will we meet any runners whose names we have seen in statistics... Hopefully some friends from past years.

Exciting to wonder... how well will each of us run?

Here's to the best day of the year!

4:30pm ... A great race. We two did about the same as last year... First 3 miles were slowest
I had my heart monitor... and was registering about 145-150 in the first half,circling William Mitchell College of Law, and on past Mount Zion Temple, about 150-160 in the second half.
Our Runner Dude won MN runner of the year for his age group last year. We aren't sure of the results for this race yet, but it looks like the competition has not given up.
Saw some good friends, although fewer women in my age group showed up this year.
At 2:00 the temp was about 41 and the wind was south at 18mph with sort of hazy sun.
It was a brisk March afternoon.
Not a drop or a flake fell on us as we ran. What a great day!

On the way home, we stopped for a couple of interesting errands on Grand Avenue ... a fun place to be on weekends.

5:00pm Pigging out on all sorts of healthy post-race food... Watching the news.
Write on your hearts.. rejoice in the gift of the best day of the year.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Quantity Time! (by Jim Chaffee)

The following was written last year in a blog by Jim Chaffee whose wife, Janice, died of myeloma in February 2007.

"Not many days ago, we sat in a cool, mauve color-coordinated examination room and felt it grow cold and colorless when the doctor who shared that space with us advised that we start thinking of the quality of life versus the quantity. Reason leapt to the front of my mind. I rationally understood the meaning of his words but my gut understood more truthfully. I wanted to scream “NO!” Give me quantity, thank you. Quantity is a good thing, many years, that’s what we want. Time. Lot’s of time, together. We promise, God, that we will also work on the quality thing if you just give us more time."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Myeloma Doctor's Report on March 14

For the myeloma report, click here

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Running for Our Lives

What a day for running! Fifty degrees in the late morning, sun shining, snow melting.

Runner Partner and I did a 10K (6.2 miles) on the track at the community center... and then ... oh joy of spring .... We did another 10K up and down the hills of the Legion neighborhood. .. So nearly a half marathon for the day.

Runner Dude ran too.. All outside miles, mostly Legion.
Then We Three finished up last night’s spaghetti and spinach lasagna.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Spring Ahead for Running; Anti-Cancer Cooking

We two are, sort of, following Runner Dude’s training plan. All 3 of us go to the Community Center, and for the convenience of it, we all spend about the same amount of time on the track. In the time he takes to run a mile, we two can do a K. On Sundays we go over after 11:00am, missing the shouting of the Jazzercise leader in the gym. Today we did a 5K while Runner Dude ran 4 miles. That’s how it goes all winter when we don’t run outside. It has been great to “run with him” for 4 or 5 months.

On the other hand, we are looking forward to some pleasant “running outdoors” weather .... a whole summer’s worth !

We are all training for that May marathon. It won’t be enough to train the same amount of time that he does; we will need to train somewhere near the same number of miles. We all will be doing the 26.2 in the race.

On Tuesday, he will be doing his long run outdoors, and we will make our first trek of the spring back to the Legion neighborhood. He will be running occasionally with his good friend Jim and also joining the Woodbury running group. I am lucky to have my Sweet Running Partner. Good luck to us all!

“Turkey Curry” sounds like some kind of oxymoron to me, but that recipe was on Yahoo this week: turkey tenderloins (whatever that is), sweet onion, ginger, and sweet potatoes, cooked in reduced fat coconut milk. The accompanying vegetable dish was carrots, cauliflower and zucchini cooked with a tablespoon of honey.
Each of the pans had curry powder stirred in. I made my own curry powder with turmeric, coriander, pepper, fenugreek, cumin, ginger, cloves, and caraway, roasted in a dry pan on the stove.

We eat just about every vegetable we can find, along with various kinds of beans, and chicken, turkey, buffalo, beef and pork. Plus salmon and another kind of fish each week.
If dessert... it is only fresh fruit... Bananas, apples, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, melons, avacadoes. All difficult to "eat local" in Minnesota. (Sorry.)
No sugar .... some people say sugar feeds cancer.
I guess I knock myself out with cooking healthy, varied, interesting food... plus shopping for ingredients, and cleaning up the kitchen disaster afterward....but the Sweet Beep is a fabulous cooking partner and inspiration, and the variety keeps me engaged and inspired ..... What the heck, “interesting” is more fun than boring is. The Runner Dude is a joy to cook for: he eats everything I try.... says it is good, unless it is really totally inedible ........

And what if all those vegetables and proteins help fight down the light chain myeloma.

I like having Daylight Time in March. Spring tends to wake me earlier in the morning. But for some reason, a long nap worked particularly well this afternoon.

Friday, I slipped on ice in our driveway and did an instant body slam on the black top.... just a slight bruise on my back where my hip bone hit, but I have felt just a bit shook up all over today. Well, a good warning to watch my step when we are out there doing our long run and shorter runs this week.

Today has been lovely, the best day we have ... let us rejoice and be glad!!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Myeloma ... Impressions ... and Hope

Seeing clearly from here... is like trying to figure out where you are in a field of tall corn. (I grew up in Iowa.)

University of Minnesota... Bank on a Cure... is collecting massive numbers of genetic samples... hoping to understand the many dynamics of myeloma... and develop ways to predict which treatment will work best for each person/kind of myeloma.

My Person has lambda light chain disease, but the protein cells that were the first to spill into his urine last week were kappa light chain. Who knows??? No amyloidosis, yea.

He will have a CT scan to help the doctor understand the lucent lesions that showed up in the top of his skull in the full body bone scan. He will have an MRI of the hip to try to figure out what might be causing slight neuropathy in his right leg.
And yes, a bone marrow biopsy...... as serious as it sounds: a needle, large enough to retrieve cells, inserted in a hip bone.
When he had the first one, he was lying on is side, facing me, and the doctor was on the other side of the table.
The look on my Honey’s face, when the needle was inserted, was a look that was burned into my memory.
(In that moment, more pain than I saw at the time of the kidney stone.)

One source of hope is the amount of research that is going on... more new strong drugs...( but of course... with various side effects in some people)...and doctors who treat only myeloma, at Mayo Clinic, among others.

There is no predicting who will get cancer... any cancer. Some healthy people get it... most do not. Always the question: Why?

When he was first diagnosed, in the summer of 2003, he had no symptoms.... only a telling blood test. I thought that would give him more lead time before his cancer would become critical. That could be true, but since then I have come to understand that myeloma doesn’t follow rules.

The myeloma is always there.. Folks in support groups tell their stories: This drug or that... or a stem cell transplant... or a combination of drugs will knock down the proteins in the blood ... for a while. Never give up; for now, time seems to be on our side. Once in a while we hear that a participant has died. A few people have lived for many years with myeloma.

One of my favorite verses, subject of a paper back when I was writing them for classes:
“....and hope does not disappoint us, because.... love is poured into our hearts.”

Many medical tests this week.. And we are hopeful.
Set the clocks ahead on Saturday night.
Keeping on running.... 2 hours today!
Peace be with you.

It is the best day, this day that we have, the best day of the year.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Having all the fun!

Oh yes, we had all the fun! ...13-14 inches of snow in the last 3 days... after a foot last week. (Where to put it all!?) The whole metro area was shut down Thursday night and Friday morning. We 3 were all out clearing the heavy white stuff.
Yesterday afternoon streets were still not totally plowed, with drifting in open areas.

Snow days: gift of exciting grace! When our children were home on a snow day, I always cheered with them... an unexpected opportunity to have them around. Wishing we could ship a snow day off to the folks who didn’t get one this week, and would have been blessed to have one.

Myeloma support/information group this morning: 17 different people, each with their own set of blood numbers, symptoms, treatments, results, and history, most folks accompanied by a significant other. What a strange complicated plague blood cancer is!
A few fortunate ones use the term plateau; none use the word remission.... ever.

Running this afternoon at the community center, we three. Looking forward now to another marathon, in a couple of months or so. Planning training... strategizing... hoping to make a PR (personal record). I love running marathons. I enjoy the travel to a marathon in another state.

Phone call from Grandma and Grandpa (in their mid-nineties) .. All is well.

A roast is in the fry pan, with vegetables, corn and beans, and my running muscles are stretched and resting. Write on your hearts it is a good day of the year.