Saturday, September 3, 2011

September 2: Big Goals and Half Marathons

I got an official "you're in remission" email from Dr. Strickland yesterday.

For all we know, then, I'm cured. But "for all we know" is a big phrase. Leukemia, at least most acute leukemias, are propagated by one mutated cell. It's entirely possible, even likely, that if I have one loose leukemic cell hiding out in my body somewhere, the disease could come back.

So, on Tuesday I have one more round of chemotherapy. I go in every morning at 8:00 am for four days. Then there's a week letting the chemo work, then a couple weeks for my blood to build back up. That pretty much fills September.

Then we work on the marrow transplant.

Big Goals and Half Marathons

As I said in the last blog post, some friends of mine are running a half marathon in Nashville in November. That's 13.1 miles.

This morning I went out walking and running for 25 minutes, and I decided I'm going to give my best shot at doing it with them. A little math says that I can do a half marathon in under three hours even if I only jog about 4 of the 13 miles.

The question, as far as that being a realistic goal, is how much I'll be able to exercise during the second round of chemo. It's a lighter round, but according to the doctor it will knock my white blood cell count down really low. That means it will also knock my red blood cell count down pretty low, and that's my oxygen transport system. It doesn't matter how good your lungs and muscles are if you don't have blood to carry oxygen from one to the other!

I should be recovered by early October. Will that be enough time?

There's no telling, so here's my plan.

I'm not going to register for the half marathon until this chemo is over, but otherwise I'm committed to it. I'll let you know how I'm doing on this blog.

In the meantime, the half marathon has the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as its official charity partner, and I have a friend running who is raising money for them. I do not know how much she's raised, but let me put in a pitch for supporting her, which you can do at this website.

She's trying to raise $100 per mile. Even $1 per mile ($13.10 total) would help her do that, and if you sponsor her through her website, there's no mailing of checks involved or anything.

Oddly enough, the race is called the "I Run for the Party" race, and there's a big block party on a street with some honkytonks on it—Nashville's Broadway.

So it's not a "Race for the Cure" or anything, but, hey, if party-goers want to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I'm certainly all for it.

A Dare

Let me give you a dare.

I was released from the hospital about 3 weeks ago. While I was in the hospital I received 14 units of blood, and to this day I'm still below the normal range on my red blood cell and hemoglobin count, which are responsible for providing oxygen to my body.

As of today, I'm pretty sure I can't run further than a half mile straight, and even then it's a pretty slow jog.

I'm going to do a half marathon on November 12, hopefully in under 3 hours.

Here's a page with a list of half marathons in November in Indiana, Oklahoma, Arizona, California, Vermont, and Wisconsin. That web site also has training tips for doing a half marathon.

Anyone want to try to get ready for a half marathon by November with me, but in your own area?

If we include December, then we can add Texas and northern California to the list of locations. An internet search might find you one closer to you.

Remember, I'm making allowance for walking 2/3 of it.

Doing something like that just might change your life.

And if you're really a go-getter, and you want to make it a fundraising idea, then here's how you do that.

I did some searching on the internet, and as I would have guessed, most web sites think that going from the couch to a half marathon in 2 or 3 months, even if you walk 2/3 of it, is ridiculous. So keep that in mind, but I'm not retracting my challenge. I've been running throughout my 40's, so I should have the bone and muscle "infrastructure" for it.

You might want to get a physical. If you get the right doctor, she might say, "Hey, if you build up for this and walk a lot of it, you can do it"

Or she might not.

Let me throw in a plug for the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. It can be streamed for free on Netflix. Blockbuster and Amazon have it online, too, but not for free.

The idea of "rebooting" and living differently afterwards is one I highly recommend. My latest reboot was forced upon me by leukemia (one more benefit of leukemia), but it's not the only "reboot" I've done.

Most of us could use more reboots.

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