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Archive for September, 2011


Sprained ankle

September 25, 2011

t happened so quickly. It was suppose to be a normal Saturday tapering group run at the lakefront path. A weekly routine for the past couple of months. After doing 20 miles last weekend, the program called for an easy 12 mile run with my wife and our friend, Elizabeth.

We were three miles into our run. I normally stayed behind to let them pace but this time I set the pace.  The ladies chit-chatted as usual, I listened, and was enjoying the nippy morning.  How wonderful (sigh)!

“Biker on your left!” We heard somebody shout behind us.

He was riding unusually fast when he passed us. They sometimes ride in pairs for training. Being in the lead, I checked for the next biker behind us. Then, I see the blurring shadow of the next biker. Whoosh. I took my eye away from the pathway, then it happened…

The next thing I knew my right foot was giving way when it stepped on an uneven surface.  I hobbled to a stop, then felt the pain in my ankle, and shoot up my leg. Oh fudge! What did I do.  Damn!  I try to walk but I could not put weight on my right ankle.

Oh no!  How could this happen now two weeks to marathon start? My wife was all over me with a worried look in her eyes.  My mind goes off to thinking about the repercussions of my dumb-ass move.

“Can you walk? We need to go to the hospital to have it checked.” She quickly assessed. Our friend volunteered to get the car while my wife stay but she insisted on getting our car while Elizabeth stay with me. She gets the keys and runs to get the car.

I need ice to ease the pain. The lake. It is normally cold. Some runners would soak in the lake to cool off, like an ice bath. With Elizabeth as my crutch I hobbled to the lake. I take off my shoes and socks then went in.   Burr…it was cold this morning as the waves reached my knee. After a few minutes, the pain was easing but I see my ankle is already swollen and turning purple. Oh shoot… This is not good. Where is my wife? I am getting cold too.

Runners and athletes are bad at taking injuries. You have this one goal in mind, you train hard for it, and when sudden injuries come, it is hard to take. I am sure the Kenyans are celebrating again.

We decide to go to Illinois Masonic, where she works instead of Swedish where I get my treatments. She hopes I can be attended to faster at her hospital. She was right. Since she works in the ER, I was attended to right away. They took a x-ray of my ankle and showed it to the doctor. The verdict: a sprain with no fracture. Thank God. Now I am hobbling, instead of waddling, with crutches for at least a week.  Then we will see….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers.

P.S.  For the 20 miler, we did it in 4:21 which was great boost in our confidence.  At the finish, we saw some friends especially Jamie and Noreen of Novacare.  Seeing Noreen was emotional because she was diagnosed with lymphoma and was undergoing chemo treatments.  It was good to see her.  Hang in there.

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The 20 miler

September 17, 2011

omorrow, we are running 20 miles.  It is organized by my running club, CARA, and is complete with hydration station, bibs, timers, pacers, and beer at the end.  It is suppose to simulate the real marathon.  Joining me will be my wife, and our good friend Elizabeth, which will be her first with CARA.  I am sure it will be fun…and painful.

It is really crazy when you think about it. Why ask for pain when you can just coast through life the easy way. Why do it?

It is about discovering yourself. To find out if you can do it or for the challenge. It does not matter if you are running a 5K, 10-miler, or a marathon. It is all in the mind. You can do it if you set your mind to it. That’s the fun of it.

My journey of discovery has given me a different perspective of life. I am at the precipice of life staring down at cancer willing it to die and leave me in peace. Each time I set out to run or race, I imagine a dance ritual I do with my cancer.  A test to see who gives up first.  Sounds deadly, huh?  At the same time, I discover the limits of pain to remind me the beauty of life.

I should be sleeping already but like a kid I am excited. It will be a long day and it is just a prelude to the big dance on October 9. Music, maestro….

Cheers

P.S. I am looking forward to see good friends at the finish line like Jaimie and Noreen of Novacare.

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Of science and faith.

September 10, 2011

thought about this as my teeth were being cleaned by my hygenist, Tamara, yesterday. She had asked an update on my health as part of their records.

“Anything new in terms of your health, Bo? Still on chemo?” She asked.

She knows my medical history and has a soft touch when cleaning my teeth. It has been a challenge keeping my teeth healthy with all the treatments I have been getting.

I paused to think and was reminded of the nodules in my lungs.

“My recent PET scan detected six nodules in my lungs.” I confessed to her. She looked concerned.

I gave her an update of the new findings, my latest chemo, and the minor mouth sores that I currently have as a side-effect from the last treatment. She promised to be extra careful and suggest a laser treatment to take some pain off.  No, thanks.  Its a wuzzy pain.

She picks up her instruments and starts.  Whiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnng!  At-a-girl.  Get in there and have fun.

In between the whining of the high-pressure dental jets, my thought drifted to the six nodules. Hard data tells me it is there. And yet, I feel fine and I am able to run 18 miles unaffected. Understandably, one can be in denial of its existence until the day of reckoning. Yes, that day will be after the marathon. My faith tells me I must be strong to will this cancer out of my body. Faith, at times, is a hard commodity to find when challenged by science or hard facts.  In my case, the existence of those damn nodules.  It is a constant battle I struggle with: science and faith.  I believe both exists in need of the other.  Faith fills the void where science cannot explain things and vice versa.  A balance.

Tomorrow, Sunday, I hope to find some renewed faith. The family and I are making a trip to Holy Hill, WI, home to the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians. Us, Catholics, has so many saints and shrines to go to for miracles and healing; more so in the Philippines.  It is as if we cannot solve our own problems.  I guess it is ingrained in the Philippine culture.  Beyond culture, I think I am no different from everybody.  Right now, I want to get rid of my cancer.   I have done many things to rid my body of cancer; change my diet, run marathons, undergo surgery, chemo, and now an offering for strength in my faith.

I know what will happen in my next scan. The empirical side of me knows. My body is prepared, my mind is at peace, and my faith is …what it is.

Cheers.

P.S. My wife and I did 14 mies of run/walk (3-minute run/1-minute walk) today. I got this new interval timer to help out and amazingly I ran faster and stronger. My new friend, the Gymboss.

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Three bags.

September 4, 2011

(NOTE: I had my monthly maintenance last Tuesday, August 20.)

counted three bag…one…two…three. Half-dazed from the “happy cocktail” (combination of benadryl and zantac) that my nurse gave me, I saw three IV bags hanging for infusion.

It should be a relatively short session at the cancer infusion center without the fourth chemo drug, Avastin. As much as I wanted to stay awake, I was fading to my drug-induced sleep. These drugs only make the time go faster and the effect to me is not a restful sleep. It is different unlike when you sleep after a long hard run.

I am back in the hole again.

It would be interesting to see if I will be able to run faster without Avastin. As planned, I am being weaned out of Avastin in case I need surgery. Avastin prevents new blood vessel from forming (to choke off tumors); if I have surgery, I will not heal. With no new blood vessel forming, I am handicapped each time I run or train. It also mean my muscles are not getting fully oxygenated and require longer time to heal. Thus, I am prone to injuries.

Not this time, my Kenyan brothers. I will be on your chasing you guys this coming October. You better be ready.

I found this video on cancer by Sal Khan.  A simplistic way to understand cancer.

http://www.khanacademy.org/video/cancer?playlist=Biology

Cheers.

P.S. My CEA level (tumor count) had an incremental increase from 1.6 to 1.8. It is still within the limits. I hope it levels off.  Over the weekend we did 12 miles this weekend.  It was a struggle for me since I have not fully recovered from my treatment.  But it is done.

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