Did I mention I run? Yup, it's a newish thing. Since February this year. Before cancer (B.C.), I was fairly active, going to the gym 3 times a week (or so) and playing soccer. But I always thought I couldn't run outside. I could run on the treadmill, but put me outside and I'd be breathless within a couple minutes.
I went thru the whole cancer thang and put on a few pounds from being a forced couch potato for a year so in Feb I decided to get ready for bikini season. Even if I'm not going to be lying on the beach ever again, I can still have a great body, right? As an aside, it seems trivial and superficial to be focusing on body image in my situation, I know. But it is a) easier for me to focus on something that I can control with my body right now, and b) a testament to the fact that I value my body so much more now than I ever did. After being so sick from chemo for a year that I was often "to tired to speak" as I'd say, or too exhausted to walk from the couch to the kitchen to get a glass of water, I don't take for granted the fact that I have a strong body right now and I want to feel the power of it.
I want to run, to push it. Does that make sense? I want people to look at me and think, "She looks like a strong, healthy woman", and I want to feel that way about myself. For the most part I do. I don't think of myself as a cancer patient. That's not me. I am strong and healthy. The cancer part does not fit and it won't become part of my identity. I know that has sort of been the focus of my blog so far, but I think that's why I needed to start this. To give that small piece of me a voice, to get it off my chest here so it doesn't invade my life.
But I digress. I started the Couch to 5k
program in Feb and it has worked wonders for me physically. So, today I had an awesome run. I've decided to push it a bit more by going longer distances. My technique will be the 10 and 1 where you run for 10 and walk for 1 over and over. Today I did three 10 minute runs. Sweet. I think I'll do that for a week then push it up to 11 and 1 and so on.
In other cancer related news, I had my 1 year follow-up at the lymphedema clinic
today. I have mild lymphedema in my right arm from the surgeries and radiation. It sucks, but it could be much worse. Apparently I have had a 13% increase in size since last June. That's not cool. I asked about Kenisio tape and the nurse told me she has never heard of it. Are you kidding me? That's why I transferred my care to Toronto. The nurse in the lymphedema clinic at the London Cancer Centre didn't even know what Kinesio tape was. I called my Toronto hospital and apparently they have someone who treats with this method for free. But lo and behold, it is a trial and only open to breast cancer patients.
Um, I will rant a bit now. I know there is no cure for breast cancer. But it's like our society has forgotten that many other cancers exist. Sure, 1/8 women will get breast cancer, but more will get some other form of cancer! 1 in 2 of us will get cancer. Do the math. Yet everywhere I go it is pink ribbon this, pink ribbon that. It would be great, if only other cancers got the same support and funding from the public.
Breast cancer awareness and funding is this huge machine now. The more we hear about it, the more people give money to it, the more resources breast cancer patients gets, but other cancer patients get left in the dust.
I've been told numerous times by doctors, nurses and social workers in the field that the topic is highly political and controversial in the cancer community. My local Wellspring
only has support groups for breast cancer patients for instance. Um, hello? Why? We all have scars, we all have body image issues, we all stay awake at night wondering if we are going to live or die. Why do the breast cancer patients get the support? Probably because someone died and left money to fund a breast cancer support group. Why can't I get into the Kinesio trial, even though my lymph node dissection of the axilla and radiation is the exact same reason breast cancer patients develop lymphedema too? Because breast cancer has the funding for research. Melanoma doesn't. I just hope they find a cure for breast cancer soon so the rest of us can be helped too.
My request is that if you are thinking about donating to breast cancer, maybe think about donating to something more broad that allocates money to many different cancers. Enough with the pink food processors
already. Support other cancer foundations as well!Canadian Melanoma FoundationMelanoma Research FoundationCanadian Cancer Society