Well, it’s been a minute… For the last couple of weeks, every day I have “write update blog post” on my list of things to do… today I’m crossing it off.
It’s been two months since I completed treatment – I can’t believe it. The time has really flown by. My blog post last month talked about my first follow up appointments with my radiation and chemo oncologists – and now I’m in the waiting game segment of this crazy #TEALPOWER journey. I’ve gotta wait a little bit longer for my first post treatment MRI. Need the body to heal properly from what its endured so they can figure out accurately if that stupid tumour is gone. Anyone who knows me knows – I hate waiting. I keep repeating “good things come to those who wait.” I’m feeling pretty good though physically. Still experiencing a few side effects that I will likely feel on and off for awhile (like right now, my ears are ringing suddenly – a side effect of the chemo that only lasts about a minute) – but all in all, feeling pretty good.
Many of you know my post-treatment goal was to cross the finish line at the Shamrock Shuffle 8K in Chicago. It was a race I ran last year with my brother, Neil and my boyfriend, Tyler. We had so much fun that we said we would do it again in 2014, but after getting diagnosed in the Fall I feared I wouldn’t be able to. Well – I DID IT!!! It was so important to me be there. It bookended my horrible diagnosis and treatment (since I ran the 5K in Toronto in October the day before the procedure that would diagnose me). I also didn’t want cancer to take away something I had looked so forward to for a year. As I started to get ready on race day I became overcome with emotion. Poor Neil and Tyler didn’t know what to do with crying Ali… what a mess! I was anxious, I was scared and I was nervous. I thought I wouldn’t be able to get to the finish line – I just finished treatment a month before, what was I thinking?
It felt good to be hitting the pavement, but man did my body hurt – more than it has in any race I have been in. I know it was far from a full marathon – but for what my body has been through recently, it certainly felt like it. There were two things that kept me going – Tyler & #TEALPOWER. When it hurt I thought of everyone who has been so supportive of me through this, and everyone who reached out to me through the blog – that is what gave me the strength and the courage to get through the dark times. It helped keep me focused to keep my legs moving forward. Ty decided he was going to run with me to help pace me. He kept encouraging me and telling me how far I had run and how much further I had to go – which I loved and hated at the same time. Poor guy got every swear word screamed at him or he would get no response, just an angry face, but honestly I couldn’t have done it without him there. Thanks babe… and I’m sorry… heart 😉 It was pretty amazing crossing that finish line with him, especially after everything we have just been through together. He even pulled back so my finish time would be a second faster. Our finish line pose was pretty epic… too bad the cameras didn’t seem to catch it (although, I don’t know how you miss a crying girl doing a flying split over the finish line). Of course there were more tears. I think they started to flow as we rounded the last corner and I could see the finish line. My family was the first group of people I saw – my cousins who came to support and my bro in his teal shirt who finished ahead of us. I’ll never forget that moment… it really was the best thing I have felt in my life, especially cause I was surrounded by so much love.
Since the race life has been getting back to “normal.” We managed to get a trip in to sunny South Carolina and Georgia to see my folks. The best were the hours we spent swimming in the ocean… it felt so freeing… it felt like I was never sick. I really needed that.
I was worried that when I was ready to get back into working full time I would have a hard time finding projects and clients – but I’ve had a nice steady flow of work come in to help keep my brain occupied. So nice to look at my calendar and see business meetings scheduled instead of radiation treatments.
It’s funny – going through something like this can really change your perspective on what matters the most. Everything you think is important changes. Do what you love. Surround yourself with love. Don’t waste a day of healthy or take it for granted. Make sure to breathe and take in the sun and fresh air when its there. Make time for you. I love getting back to work, and still love what I do so much, but at the end of the day – it’s my job, it’s not who I am. I’m not saving someone’s life – not like the amazing doctors, nurses and technicians who have saved mine.