Week 16/25 is here and from here on out, my runs will all be approximately 3+ hours until we enter taper. I should feel lucky that Summer has been kind to us here in Seattle. Fellow runners throughout the nation have been experiencing 90+ degree weather all summer. They’re forced to run super early, super late or get on the dreaded Treadmill to get their bodies acclimated to the pounding they’ll experience in less than three months. I’m learning to experiment with new meal plans, eating/hydration habits and different gear options. More so than last season with TEAM, I’m discovering what things I like and do not like. I’ve discovered the wonder of regular ice baths that only athletes seem to understand and marveled at the technology behind compression gear that keeps blood flowing through the various parts of our body. I’ve learned about more about cancer than I really care to know and tear up in anguish when I hear yet another person has been diagnosed with these awful diseases. I’ve listened to Mission Moment stories where people have lost many, many loved ones to cancer. However, I hear just as many stories of survivors. Honored TEAMmates who would not be here today if it wasn’t for the assistance of TEAMmembers past and present who have tortured their bodies for endurance runs, hikes, Tri-athalons and more just so more patients can be helped and possibly saved. Like the 3 FOR 3 cancer study that was recently in the news. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society helped fund that and I cry with JOY to know that we helped out. To know that maybe one day cures like this one will be as common as the cure for smallpox which was once considered incurable and a death sentence.
Most importantly, I’m learning of the kindness of others who believe in this mission as much as I do. Who spend season after season volunteering their time and energy as a Coach or Mentor or just as a fundraising participant raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society all over our nation. To know that I can do my small, small part and help out by running and raising money while cancer patients can only do so much as raise their head. That experienced those feelings that only those with cancer can understand after hearing those three little words. ”You Have Cancer.” Last night I realized I was about three weeks past a similar point myself. It never ceases to amaze me how fast time can fly….
It was 3 weeks ago that, while lying in bed, I discovered a lump in my breast. It was a lazy Sunday morning, which is pretty common in my life now. I struggle against them, but mostly because 2-3+ hour long runs have necessitated making Saturday the lazy sleepy, nap in bed day and Sunday the finish all your weekend errands day. At any rate, it was Sunday. Lazy and with a beautiful afterglow. I was contemplating how beautiful life was. It was a sunshiny day, I was finally divorced and happily in love. What more could you ask for? That’s about the time I felt it. A lump. In my breast. As with any scare, I took a moment to pause while crazy thoughts raced in my head. Was that what I thought it was? Why is it so BIG? Am I imagining it? What about my other breast, does it feel similar? What if I stood up, would that make a difference? Justin noticed. He teasingly asked me if I was doing a self exam and tried to help. I told him quietly though that I thought I had found a lump. All jokes stopped and he reached over and felt the same thing I did.
We all know that the next stage is to obviously not panic and make an appointment with your Dr. But that doesn’t stop the thoughts that race through your head. The obvious WHY ME?!? flew through a few times as well as the thought that there was no history of Breast Cancer in my family. Other thoughts that felt weird included Why is all cancer in the breast referred to as Breast Cancer, but if it happens elsewhere it has exact names like Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) or Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Do you know how many types of cancer there are? TONS. I’m geeky, I went straight to Bing and looked. Thankfully, I didn’t placate my anxieties and become all hypocondriatic(is that even a word?) by clicking on each and every cancer name and read up on them. It took me most of the next week to finally call the Nurses line who told me to make an appointment immediately, which I did. My dr fit me in the next morning. After some routine questions that did nothing to calm my nerves, he told me that given my history it was most likely not cancer but gave me a referral to the Diagnostic office in Seattle where they do Mammograms. They too were kind enough to squeeze me in and after more questions and more boob squeezing, they came to the same conclusion. (By the way, why do doctors congratulate you on your first Mammogram?) However, they wanted me to come in the following week so they can pull some of this lumpy tissue and confirm. From both breasts. Does that freak you out? I certainly was. I only came in about one, but apparently the Mammogram revealed smaller lumps in my other boob. SCARY. I went in the following week without telling many people what was going on. For some reason, despite all my various nonsensical updates to the Social stream, this is one I held close. In fact, it wasn’t until the day before that I realized I should probably call home and tell my mom. Just in case. Justin, of course, knew and in typical Liana fashion, I told him my beliefs about life support and surgeries. A biopsy is a minor one in the grand scheme of things, but a surgery none the less and I didn’t want to go in without someone other than my mom knowing my stance on life support systems.
Now here I am, three weeks after discovering said lump. Two weeks post Biopsy and I’m happy to say that those lumps weren’t cancerous. One of those things they don’t tell you when they remind you to do your monthly checks is that sometimes the lumps you find are just fatty tissue build up. My lumps are called Fibroadenma and I’m relieved to say I don’t have cancer. That won’t stop me from running though. If anything, it reinforces the need in me to run more. To help find more cures so that no one has to have a scare like that and worry about possible death sentences. To worry about losing loved ones or even leaving them behind. You can do your part too. You don’t have to run if you don’t want to, although the next season is just getting started. A small donation will help me get to my goal which is a mere $1000 dollars away. Make a small donation and maybe if your company does matching donations, they can kick in a little extra.
What can your donation do?:
$1000 supports one week’s salary for a medical researcher at UCSF, Stanford, or Berkeley who may discover key information to developing curative treatments for blood cancers.
- $500 provides a blood cancer patient with financial assistance for one year.
- $500 allows 10 patients to log on to a webcast and hear the latest information in treatment for their disease.
- $200 provides a Family Support Group Program for one year for a patient and their family.
- $150 allows 5 patients to make a First Connection with a trained peer volunteer.
- $100 provides 3 patients access to an information teleconference.
- $75 is the average cost of tissue typing to become a bone marrow donor.
- $50 is the cost of a CT scan
- $40 is the cost of sending a comprehensive packet of information for children with cancer.
- $35 pays for transportation expenses for a patient living in Northern California’s most rural areas to treatment at a comprehensive cancer center.
- $25 covers a single prescription co-payment.
- $5 is the cost of sending a newly diagnosed patient information about support and their disease.