Saturday, May 7, 2011

Another Special Mother's Day

It's been way too long since I last posted a blog.  Life has gotten busy!  Which is a good thing.  Most of our free time these days are spent on the soccer and baseball fields.  I feel like I am being pulled in a million different directions.  Every night I plan on sitting down to write, but  usually collapse on the couch and fall asleep!

Well, tomorrow is the big day.  Mike and I are competing in a Mother's Day Sprint Triathlon in Sudbury, MA!  Before I went into the hospital in November before my transplant, Mike wanted to make sure that we both had something BIG to look forward to and to strive for.  So he registered us for the triathlon.  I had participated in it last year.  Swimming is definitely not my strength but the race itself was so exhilarating.  Just being surrounded by so many people (of all shapes and sizes) all participating in the same event.  It is amazing to be there and especially to be a part of something so great.  For so many it has been a fitness goal or on their bucket list, for others, it is a training triathlon for a bigger race in the future.  I can remember last year Mike telling me that he had no desire to  do one.  And now today, he has gotten in the best shape of his life, he has become a great runner and he has been swimming for the last 12 weeks.  I am so proud of him.   I know initially he signed up for me, but you know what, he really is excited about doing it!  

I have not physically trained for this race all that much.  Although my running is stronger than ever, Thursday was my first time in the pool since last year.  I managed to swim the 16 laps necessary for tomorrow.  It is not pretty and not fast, but I can get from point A to point B.  Yesterday Mike, my friend Shayna and I did a brick. We did a 9 1/2 mile ride followed by a 2 1/2 mile run.  I forgot how challenging the transition is from riding to running. My legs felt like tree trunks!  

It's funny I can feel the anxiety from many of my friends doing the race tomorrow.  And all of them have been training for it.  I am probably the one who is least prepared for it!  Yet  I am so excited to do it.  You see, it is coming up on my one year anniversary since I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.  Last year at this time I was still struggling with a healing sternum and I had a strange bump on my chest which was later confirmed to be a plasmacytoma.  I can remember swimming in the last triathlon and struggling with the pain in my sternum.  Little did I know what was really going on with me.  The fact that it is one year later, a stem cell transplant later..... I can't freaking believe it!!  In the last year I have felt so close to death.  I honestly was doubting whether or not I was going to make it to see my kids begin school last September, let alone be running again or participating in a Triathlon!

As I explained to Mike on the soccer field this morning, I feel like I need to pinch myself everyday.  I feel so happy and so incredibly blessed for how my life is today.  It's funny so many people tell me that I should move on.  That last year was last year and this is now.  But you know what?  Every day I do reflect about the past year.  But I also think of where I am today.  I feel stronger than ever.  In fact I am up to running 10 miles!  I think reflecting on the last year helps me really appreciate today and how lucky I feel and how happy I am.  As we all know today is all we have.  Life can change on a dime as I have experienced firsthand.  So everyday I feel great, I get out there and run and enjoy it fully.  I beat this cancer this time and I only plan on getting stronger from this point.  So when it tries to attack again I'm ready to put up a good fight!

As I was running the other day, reflecting on all that has happened, a special person came to mind, Kathy Giusti, Multiple Myeloma Survivor and founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, MMRF.  Kathy was diagnosed in 1996 and at the time was told that she only had 3 years to live.  Today she is still in a "Complete Response".  I am so grateful for all of her efforts with the MMRF.  The MMRF has played such a big role in bringing four new treatments for myeloma in the past four years.  These treatments, now the standard of care for multiple myeloma patients  have helped to almost double the life expectancy among some patients.   Kathy Giusti was just recently named one of Time Magazine World's 100 Most Influential People.  Tomorrow I am dedicating my race to Kathy Giusti.    I feel strongly that I am here today largely because of her efforts.  It is my way of thanking her for all that she has done for the Multiple Myeloma World.  Her strength and perseverance to be there for her daughters, her refusal to give up hope,  and her dedication to finding a cure, has truly been such an inspiration for me.  So on this Mother's Day, I will be thinking of one very special woman.   Kathy, as I am struggling in the pool swimming my last lap, pedaling to the transition area, and running to the finish line,  I will be thinking of you!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's out there.  To my mom, I love you and miss you so much and I am counting the days until you and dad come out to visit!