Posts Tagged ‘chemotherapy’

Putting in the miles.

August 7, 2010

t is time to build my miles towards the marathon in October. It will be a short training period for me, two months. But I got to try. I have been running again; six miles last Wednesday at an average pace of 12:14 mins. per mile, then five miles Thursday at 12:17, and today 13 miles at 12:34.

Each time I run I visualize I am putting distance between me and my cancer. I wish I can out run this disease this time around. We will see. I try not to think about it but I know it is there, just asleep…zzz…zzz…zzz. I wish it was killed by all the chemo treatments I got but as my doctor said; there is no cure for cancer…yet.

So sleep or snore cancer cells, as you get lulled to the sound of my shuffling feet.  Shuffle…shuffle…shuffle.

I have often wondered what triggers this mutant cell to become cancerous. Genetics, food, environment; take your pick. It is devious disease.  Just sleep, ok?


My first chemo maintenance is scheduled on August 26. I get zapped again with chemo drugs. These are sleeping pills to my cancer cells. If the plan works, it will keep my cancer at bay for the next two years. After which, perhaps I get weaned out of it.

It will be interesting to see how I react to it while I am in training. It will be a lower doze so I expect to have no or minimal side-effects. I suppose I will bear the pain no matter what.  The pain is no different from the pain I feel, when I run, from my left iliotibial band (ITB) problem.  (This is common among runners as they  in runners as their mileage).  I will get to the finish line.  I am thankful for what is given.  It is about what you have.

Man, I love life. I love my wife. I love my family. I love you.


PS:  I would like to thank LindsayF for dedicating her first half-marathon to me and her nana, Marge.  Hang in there, Marge.  Go ACS!

My wife, Irish, me, and Lindsay.

To support me in my running for ACS, please follow the link below;


Read Full Post »

Our last dance…school’s out!

July 26, 2010

omorrow, July 27, is my last chemo treatment.

I have mixed feeling about tomorrow. I should be happy that my treatment which started January 12 (see related post ‘First day at school…chemo school‘) will soon be over. After 12 cycles of chemotherapy, a chemoembolization procedure (see related post ‘At the starting line with Dr. B‘), a right liver lobectomy, and many sorts of imaging scan and medical test, I am about to cross the finish line. The last mile.

Graduation day is almost here!

But how come I am not feeling elated?  I have this lingering feeling that after all I have gone through my cancer may comeback.  Nobody can tell me that I am cured or it will not be back. I try not to think about it and stay positive. I just need to focus on what is given to me and make the most of it.

I will not be wearing a graduation toga like before, instead I will make it an ordinary day. You see, cancer has taught me that ordinary days are special days.  It is what you make of it.  I may not be wearing my toga tomorrow but I know the importance of tomorrow. Tomorrow is a gift of life.

Let’s do our last dance tomorrow. Bring on the nausea, the chills, and the sweats. Let’s remember our moment together my demon-friends. Let’s make it special. Let’s do it for those who are no longer with us and for those who continue to hope for a cure.

I will run before our dance, go to the hospital, and I will be there waiting for you. After we are done, I will enjoy my special day.

Hit it Alice…let’s rock!

“Out for summer out till fall

we might not come back at all

school’s out forever….” – Alice Cooper


PS: My wife and I did 12 miles over the weekend (2:55:19@14:23 average pace).  Man, that was painful but sweet.  This weekend is 13 miles but may have to skip it until fully recovered from chemo.

To support me in my running for ACS, please follow the link below;


Read Full Post »

10 miles and beyond.

July 11, 2010

oy, that was painful.  I managed to finish the 10 mile group run, at an even slower pace of 15:36 min/mile, but I hurt this time around. Who am I to complain about pain after a long run. I’ll take it anytime of the day compared to vomits and diarrhea after chemo treatment “runs”.

I felt good running out there. The pathways were crowded as usual but that is expected. We are now in the thick of marathon/half-marathon training season. But, I love it when I am out there, even if it is crowded with runners, bikers, or people just enjoying the lakefront.  When I am running out there, I feel so alive; the lakefront breeze is crisp, the morning sun radiant, and the sound of my steady breathing comforting.

I don’t even mind being passed by the other runners or groups. It is like being passed by cars with their radio or CDs playing. You hear their conversation as they pass you by;

“You got to try this gel because it gives you energy but no caffeine….”

“I told my husband that it is his turn to take care of the baby…”

“Huh?  I thought you two broke up…”

“It’s a draft! Get it?  Did you get the joke?”

“Woohoo.  Looking good runner.  Go ACS!”

I just smile when I hear snipets of these conversation.  “On your left!” shouts a passing biker. Go ahead.

I wish I can run faster to hear the rest of the more interesting conversation. It is like live reality TV. Who needs music to keep you occupied.  I love it.

Beyond 10 miles.

Once again chemo week is coming up again. It will be my fifth of sixth treatment this Tuesday, July 14.  To keep my spirits up my family tells me it is almost “graduation day” for me. I don’t about that.  (NOTE: I wore a graduation toga on my last treatment October 2008.)  You see my chemo treatments might be over soon but I still have to undergo chemo maintenance for life.  This will help in keeping my cancer from recurring again.  It will be like being in “school” for the rest of my life.

October 2008 chemo graduation. Graduated with honors. My wife, oncologist, and me.

Oh well, I need to figure out something just to mark the end that chapter of my life. I will definitely be thankful for completing my treatments and will continued to celebrate my blessings; including being in “school” for the rest of my life.  I guess it is a way for me to continue and learn the secrets of life.


PS:  Sally, congratulation to Spain for win the World Cup.  Goooal!  Total miles for the week is 19 miles.  Next week zero miles…drip…drip…drip.

Read Full Post »

The 9 mile challenge

July 7, 2010

oday I ran 9 miles. I have ran 9 miles before, in my previous life or when I was on remission. This 9 miles was tough especially coming off chemo last week. I found a new vocabulary on the way, shuffle. I use to waddle now I shuffle. I am really slow now but I did it. You have to respect the distance (no matter how short), like cancer. Otherwise, you don’t finish your run, get injured, or in cancer’s case it comes back after a year. Sucks.

During these long runs I am in my contemplative state of mind. It is just me alone on the trail paths of Chicago’s lakefront. Much like during my chemo sessions. I bear the burden alone during my chemo treatments, and running through the pathways in the midmorning sun I am alone in my thoughts. No music for me.

I contemplate on the drip…drip…drip of chemo drugs which was replaced by shuffle…shuffle…shuffle steps of my tired feet. Each drip brings me closer to the end of my treatment, and my slows steps brings me closer to the finish line.


Two different worlds I live in for the moment, and for the rest of my life.  I wish the other one (cancer) did not exist but I would not be who I am now without it.  I am far more patient and appreciative of what I have.  The world is moving so fast and we are surrounded by gadgets and things we think to help us managed our lives.  To make it easy or simple.  This I often wonder if really does, convenient; yes.  Easy or simple, try to explain that to my mother who still could not figure out the digital camera the family gave her.

I get way laid with my thoughts when I am running, as you can see.  Until I get distracted or hear…

On your left!” Shouts a cyclist coming from behind. Whoosh! And he/she is gone.

I get passed a lot when running at the lakefront, mostly by these bare-chested athletic runners. Whatever. Sometimes I am passed by old runners and big ones too.  Then there are the roller bladers, occasional skateboarders, runners with baby carriage and runners with dogs. Most have their iPod/iPhone plugged in their ears. There is this one full-bosomed runner who tucked her iPhone in her sports bra. That is so wrong!

So I shuffled toward the end of my run after 2 hours, 12 minutes, tired but happy. My Garmin reads: 9.08 miles at an average pace of 14:54 minutes/mile. Done.

Next challenge, 10 miles this Saturday with the group.

Keep on shuffling. Maybe I should change my blog to Shuffling Tales.


Read Full Post »

Fourth of sixth treatment.

June 28, 2010

omorrow is my fourth chemo treatment. I have done all I can to get myself ready for tomorrow. I ran, biked, did some weights, and yoga. I even did some baking. I also ate myself to recovery too (mostly home-made pizza and pasta), and have maintained the weigh I lost during chemo week.

With all this activity and exercise, I find myself getting stronger, but running-wise, I am no where near my previous running pace of 10:30 or 11:00. However, I try to maintain my weekly base mileage during recovery week. Last week I did 18.13 miles for the week, which is less than my previous recovery week run totals (see June 14 “It’s all in the mind” post) of 18.96 miles. I’ll take it.

You take what is given and make the most of it, no matter how bad you think it is. Sometimes the ego gets in the way. We have an image of ourselves and we try to live up to it. I am prone to this weakness too. I tend to push myself more by running longer or faster because…because I of my ego is getting the best of me. The result is aching knees and ITB (illiotibial band) problems. I got to slow down.

Slow just like the slow drips of my chemo meds. Drip…drip…drip. I wish I can describe how it feels, as it slowly takes away my energy. Drip…drip…drip. It is a totally different experience only other cancer patients can relate too. Drip…drip…drip. I don’t like myself when I have my treatments, but I got to do it. We go through a lot just to live another day.

There are lots of things happening around the world e.g. soccer, oil spill, jobs, etc but tomorrow it is just me and my chemo treatment. This chronic disease really anchors me on what is important in life. I am able to see what is important and find peace in simplicity. A breath, a hello, or a hug. Most people when they see me say I look good for somebody who has cancer. Perhaps it is in the inner peace I have nurtured to get through this challenge.

Whatever it is I hope I have given you peace as well as you follow my story.  I will be back.



Read Full Post »

It’s all in the mind.

June 14, 2010

received an email from my friend, AbbyW, updating me on her training towards running her first half-marathon. Abby was my nurse when I had my liver surgery (see related post ‘Right Liver Lobectomy (Part 1 of 2) – The morphine button‘). She said she is getting nervous about the race on August 1. I tried to assure her that she will be fine.  She already completed a 5K race which boosted her confidence.  Now the hard work comes, but…

It is all in the mind. Sometimes we expect too much of ourselves. We set goals so high that we set ourselves to fail. Setting high goals is normal because it is the way we perceive ourselves or want others to perceive us. The key is to set achievable goals and committing to it. It is also important not to over-analyze but “just do it.”

So, last week I had a very active week. Some colleagues of mine were in town so I had dinner with them. It was good to see them. I also had to squeeze in a CT scan of my sinuses and a doctor’s appointment (Dr. N). My sinuses have been bothering me again now I have started my chemo again. Then, there is the running. I pushed myself last week and my stats shows it.

  • Monday, June 7 = 3.85 miles@14.20 average pace
  • Tuesday, June 8 = 3.0 miles
  • Wednesday, June 9 = speedwork
  • Thursday, June 10 = 6.16 miles@14.04 average pace
  • Friday, June 11 = cross train
  • Saturday, June 12 = 5.95 miles@12.57 average pace and yoga

You might say I am in marathon mode now, trying to build my base miles when I can. Carpe Diem. Tomorrow is chemo Tuesday again, the start of my three-day ordeal so I lose one week of training. This will be my third of six treatments. Almost to the finish line.

Finally, my friend MikeE was so concerned about over doing my running until he came across this CNN health article. It seems more exercise is best way to recover from treatments and cope up with cancer.

I will be back.


PS:  I leave you in the company of Mr. Eric Clapton

Read Full Post »

I will remember thee.

June 8, 2010

Monday, June 7, at Dr. A’s office (liver surgeon)

oc, why did you take out my gallbladder?” I asked upon seeing him for my follow-up consult.

It was in the way (of the liver).” He replied jokingly.

What a guy!  I love him and his sense of humor. This was my second follow-up visit after my liver resection last April 20, and maybe this last time I will see him. No offense to him but I only have one liver left now.

You look good and fully recovered. Let me see your scars.” I raise up my shirt to show him my wound.

I would have looked better if you had worked on my abs too.” I said and he laughed. He points to his belly and said.

Well, before you get it, I need one too.”

Dr. A and me

He said that my scars were healing well, except for one portion.  Pretty soon it will just fade, he adds (like memory).  He instructed nurse Lori to touch up the non-healing wound, then bids me good luck before seeing other patients.  And, just like that, we both move on.

I was happy to see Dr. A and Lori, but sad as well because I know I may not see them again.  Everyday, cases like mine come and go in their offices.  Perhaps some of them worst than mine.  While in the waiting room, I saw a patient with a bag full of medication–a transplant patient.  You see Gods work in their offices.

I am only one of the people passing through their office/clinic, and I am a grateful beneficiary of their outstanding medical skills and kindness. He may not remember me when I see him me in the streets of Chicago but I will definitely remember him, and those who have helped me along the way. Thanks, Dr. A and Lori.

Lori and me


PS: Recovery week is here and I am slowly getting my strength back.  Woohoo.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: