An Open Letter…

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Dear Misfit Runners–

I am utterly and completely disappointed in your group of people.  In January, I was a victim of cyber bullying from this group.  The reason, SF and SR decided that I was faking cancer– I don’t know why they decided that I had faked this condition, or how they came to this conclusion.  They berated me very publicly to friends I had for years.  I was ostracized, and treated horribly.  I left the group without defending myself.

I learned that there were other victims of this group– male and female.  Another runner who on journey to lose 400 pounds was told he was an attention monger.  Another runner was told that she faked her finish line pictures in the New York City Marathon (and was also accused of faking her ailments as well).  Just yesterday, they attacked a mother, and her teenaged daughter.

The perpetrators of this behavior are not teenagers, they are not even children, they are 20-30-40-year old grown ass women.  And it’s despicable.  It is so wrong to troll other adults, but extending that trolling to minor children is pathetic.  I hope the people who are doing this read this, and know that you are utterly, and completely pathetic.  I felt sorry for you when you attacked me, because I thought there was seriously wrong with your self-esteem to go after adults, but a child– there is absolutely, positively NO excuse.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.  You are disgusting human beings.

 

Jodi

P.S. Just so you know– I kicked cancers butt.  I’m now done with chemo.  The picture above was taken today.  The only evidence of cancer is my really short hair cut.

 

Cyber Bullied For Having Cancer

I was officially diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer on February 3rd, 2016.  As scary as the diagnosis sounds, and I am truly terrified, I am going to write about this as a warning to other social media users.  Please note, I do not think negatively about this, it is bothersome to me, but I am not dwelling on what happened, and I am a strong, healthy person, and I am going to beat this despite the “haters.”  I just namely want to save people from experiencing a similar thing.

A few months ago, I was invited to a running social media site.  I will not name the site, as it will give credence to the members, that did the bullying.  It was a site that encouraged its members to be sarcastic and irreverent.  I enjoyed it.  It was a closed group, so I felt free to post about things going on in my life that I could not post on regular social media sites.  At the time, I was dealing with the recent death of my dad; my daughter was being diagnosed with ADD (and had some serious mental health issues going on); and of course my son had autism.  I was struggling mentally and physically from all these things going on (or so I thought).

On February 1st, I had an appointment with my doctor.  This was my initial appointment, and because I was in a chemical accident in 2002, she ordered an X-ray of my chest and upper respiratory system. I ended up having fluid on my lungs.  My heart rate was irregular and my blood pressure was high.  The doctor told me that it probably was pneumonia, and my heart was enlarged because I have a condition that’s common in marathoners called athlete’s heart, OR I could have congestive heart failure and I could have had a silent heart attack.  I rushed to social media, and asked questions from the runners on the site.  Most of the runners answered honestly, but two women started to question everything.  I tried to answer the questions and calm myself down, but no avail.  My day was about to get much worse.

I was sent to the ER at the local hospital to have the fluid drained.  They did a CT scan to see the extent of the fluid in the lungs, and the radiologist saw something on the scan.  Three scans later, he spotted a mass in my gynecological region, and they ambulated me to Sacred Heart in Pensacola.  Of course, being the person I was, I updated those praying for me in the running group, because I had friends there.  The two women who had questioned me got even more aggressive, and started to really question the situation.

The next three days while I was hospitalized, it was a roller coaster.  I was told that I did not have cancer, that I did have cancer, that it could be this, or it could be that.  Finally, on February 3rd, I had a bladder stent put in, and was thoroughly examined by the gynecological oncologist on staff at the hospital.  He identified the cancer immediately.  I was scheduled on February 5th for a full hysterectomy.  I didn’t check social media account for a few days after that, and when I did check it, I found a post making fun of me.

It had gone beyond the two women who initially questioned my diagnosis, multiple people posted things stating that I was faking, that I was an attention whore, and they questioned whether, or not I was making up other things I had shared with them.  I was told by my family to leave the site, and I did.  A few of my Facebook friends that were on the site that I had left, and why.  Some of them went on the site (who knew me personally and online), assured the other admins that I was not lying, and that I was diagnosed with cancer and facing months of treatment.  The site exploded, and several people left the site, and started their own site.

I am not really too angry, or hold too many negative feelings towards the people who did this.  Online is a mob mentality sometimes– just look at some of the other irreverent sites that have hurt people in the past.  The commonality is they are irreverent.  If you can’t handle the heat, you are the one with the problem.  It is easy to be mean when you are hidden behind a computer.  In all honesty, their negativity, ribbing, or cruelty does not bother me.  I actually feel sorry for them, because there is something seriously lacking in their life that they feel they can pick on someone diagnosed with cancer.

I also hold myself somewhat accountable for what happened.  I should not have shared with strangers what was going on.  I should have just kept it to myself until I knew for sure what was happening.  I should not have kept feeding them with information to use against me.  The situation has changed the way I interact online.  If I have medical questions about my condition, I have found a support group locally, and I call people who have been there.  I also contact my doctor, I keep a negativity/symptom journal, and I have a cancer survivor social worker, who is working with my family.

Though this incredibly negative thing has happened, there has also been some good that has come out of this.  I am not a religious person, and I have a renewed faith.  I have personally witnessed miracles.  It has brought me closer to my family and friends, and made me realize how truly precious our time on Earth is.  I made up with a friend that I thought I had lost years ago, people I went to high school with have rallied around me, and I have become a better person.

I never really thought that online bullying could occur to me.  I am not a typical victim.  I have a pretty thick skin.  It can happen to anyone, for any reason.

The Curious Case Of Jodi Vetter

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I am writing this blog on an iPhone. I have been experiencing a surprising health crisis. I thought that I was doing everything right. I am nearing 40, I watch my diet, and I am active– I lift, I run, I bike, and swim. I didn’t think I needed to go to the doctor, because a. I was in tuned to my body, b. I enjoyed being blissfully unaware of my own mortality, and c. I would KNOW if I was sick. Turns out me being active was nearly my undoing. It could still be my undoing (please pray).

My story started about a year ago, I was experiencing some discomfort in my back. I had gone into the doctor, and was told it was a back injury. I went through the  physical therapy program, was declared not injured and went about my life.

A few months later, I experienced some dull aching pain in my back. I mentioned it a few times that I needed to do something about my back. I would do sit-ups, squats, and lunges. I mentioned the back ache a few times to my husband, but he shrugged it off.

I went on with my life.  The pain ebbed and flowed with my cycle.  Since it was regular monthly visitor, I assumed it was cramps, or ovulation.  This month, I decided that I needed to go in, and get some piece of mind regarding my body.  I am nearing 40, youth is fleeting.  I thought running made me immune.

I was wrong.  In 2002, I was in a train accident which affected my upper respiratory system.  I had switched insurances, and made my first appointment in almost six years.  The doctor being diligent ordered a chest x-Ray.  They found something.

I had a pleural effusion, or liquid on the lungs.  I was sent to the ER.  Three CT scans later, I was transported to the region medical center.  My kidney is being cut off by a large mass in my pelvis. Near my cervix.

The first thought, cervical cancer– with fluid on the lungs– I was probably stage 3 or 4.  This plunged me into the cardiac ward where I rode a roller coaster.

First, my lungs were drained and then the fluid was sent off to be tested. Then a revolving door of doctors and specialists came to see me: I had cancer, I didn’t have cancer, there is a mass, there is no mass, I need a stent, I don’t need a stent.

I am now day five into this whole thing, and this is the best guess: my kidney was blocked by something in my pelvis. The something is either a cancerous ovarian tumor, fibroid tumor, or endometriosis. My guess- endometriosis (my history points towards it).  I had a stent installed and biopsy on the mass.  I am waiting on the final word.  Then I face chemo, radiation, and/or hysterectomy.  I am facing this with humor and positivity- I am young, healthy, and have a great support.

The biggest thing that I came away with is a few life lessons:

  1. Make peace with those you wronged. Don’t go out with regrets.
  2. Be an advocate for yourself.
  3. Don’t think that you are doing everything “right” that you are immune.
  4. Don’t put off, or skip annual exams.
  5. Be thankful for what you have.
  6. Don’t share medical diagnosis until you have the final word.
  7. Stay or get healthy– my activity and diet probably saved my life.
  8. If you do end up in my situation up your data plan.

 

 

 

In A New York State of Mind…

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One year ago today I was one month away from a marathon that I will never, ever (did I mention ever) forget.  I don’t think words can really express what it was like running that marathon.  It was an emotional experience.  If you are a football fan, and watch the Superbowl, I now understand what football players feel like when they enter the stadium.  The ironic thing is that even now I still get chills when I think about that marathon.  I still remember the emotions leading up to, the emotions I had the day of the race, the dramatic feeling when I was injured, and the fear that this would be my last race ever.  But it isn’t my last race ever.

My only wish is that I could have run it this year instead of last year. I am nearly 15 pounds lighter, I am running much stronger, and my finish time would have been awesome, but that said it was the race to end all races. I have yet to find anything comparable.  Disney is NOT comparable.  Yes running through the castle is really neat, especially given that I grew up going to Disney, and it holds a really special place in my heart, but it is not New York.  Here are the memories I have:

I remember waiting forever for the race to start.  Sitting next to an absolute stranger and talking excitedly about how wonderful this day was going to be…

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I remember running across the first bridge.  It was 40 degree with 45 mile per hour winds.  It was so windy that peoples’ discarded clothing was flying through the air.

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I remember hearing the people once I got into the Bronx and Little Havana.  That was the one thing that blew me away.  First three miles on the bridge, and then you could hear it a little bit at first, but once you hit the first borough, it was a dull roar of people.  There were people 5 deep.  I remember high fiving little kids, and having them say, “Gracias Mamacita,” only for them to spring a few blocks down the street to get high fived again.  I remember the fire department in Brooklyn, with the fireman holding his infant son with his arm stuck out for a high five.  I remember NYPD smiling, and laughing and cheering.  It was cold, but everyone WANTED to be there.

I remember crossing the Queensboro bridge at mile 16, and again hearing the dull roar about .5 miles out of people.  Then seeing people 16-20 thick waiting on the other side of the bridge for us.  The cheering was so loud it was like you were entering a stadium.  I remember running through Queens and hearing the Queens Baptist church singing hymns.  It was one of the only marathons I didn’t listen to music, because it the city was so alive and vibrant.  You didn’t need music to get through it, and if you had head phones on, you were going to miss it.

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I remember hitting mile 20, and thinking that I would never be able to finish.  My hip hurt so badly, and it was so uncomfortable.  I was cold.  My husband gave me a sweatshirt he had brought with.  I hung my head in shame that I was not going to get my goal. But somehow at mile 23, I had enough in me to go for just three more miles.  That’s what I kept telling myself, it’s 3 more miles.

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I hobbled through the park, and got to the finish line.  I remember hearing someone just screaming so loudly he was hoarse.  The voice was somewhat familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it until Marathon Monday, when I discovered it was Hugh Jackman, one of my favorite actors.  He had sat out in the bleachers and cheered just about every runner in.  It was so touching.  Not just having him out there and cheering, but every last New Yorker and visitor who came on that cold, windy day to cheer.  I don’t know if they realize how much they change me as a runner, or how deeply they affected me.  That blustery November Day was the 3rd best day of my life– the first was getting married, followed closely by giving birth to two wonderful children (though some days the ranking is different), but that day was up there.  That one day, I was a New Yorker, and a marathoner.  If I don’t qualify for Boston, I want to go back to New York.  I ❤ New York.

Wow, It’s Been A Month!

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My dog is ready to run again, and I’m ready to write again.

I haven’t been writing much, I haven’t been doing much.  It’s been a rough summer, a rough fall, and now we are approaching a rough winter.  To recap, in June my father passed away.  Following his death, my son’s beloved teacher was murdered.  The killers are still at large.  I came down with bronchitis and ended up bed ridden for a week. Then a few weeks later, a police officer was gunned down, and the suspect was also killed.  Our city was on lock down for a few days.

I took some much needed personal time to get things in my personal life figured out.  It is hard to write, be positive, and even think when there is so much negative going on.  I did nothing to do with writing (except submitting the minimal number of articles for Many Kind Regards), instead I spent my days and nights playing Fantasy Football, running, and spending time with my kids.  You don’t realize how children are affected by tragedy and loss, until they are. I needed this time to think, to re-evaluate, and to figure things out.

I still don’t have everything figured out, but we are doing better.  I restarted writing the second novel.  I have yet to post another day in my writing challenge– just not ready for that yet.  And now I’m re-attacking the blog.  I have also lost 15 pounds (I have 10 more pounds to lose in preparation for my kind of, sort of, but not really last marathon).  I started a training plan in preparation for the kind of, sort of, but not really last marathon.  Last night I signed up for the kind of, sort of, but not really last marathon.  I find out next month if we are leaving our beloved home for five years for a new base, and since the leaves are falling, it’s time to turn a new leaf.

Expect to hear more from me shortly…

I’m Back…

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In November, I ran this huge race called New York City Marathon.  It was not the performance I would have liked, in fact, I was very, very, very disappointed with it.  A few months prior to the race, I started noticing a pain in my hip.  I took time off, and the pain didn’t abate.  A few weeks prior to the race, I could not stand, sit, or do anything without extreme discomfort.  I went to a massage therapist to loosen what I thought was a tight muscle to no avail.  The race was expensive.  The race alone was almost $400.  We had pre-paid our hotel, pre-paid our airline tickets, and my parents cleared their schedule to come up and visit with the kids while we enjoyed New York.  I was not going to “not” run it because of an injury.  It was a once in a lifetime race.  I had waited literally years to run this race.

I got back from NYC, and went to the doctor.  Long-story short, I was told I would never run again, and was risking my long-term health by running.  I listened to the doctor long enough to call my mom and bawl.  I decided I would run again.  I went to a physical therapist and wonderful spine doctors, who told me that the doctor was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.  My goal race in 2016– probably my last race was NOT in jeopardy.  I was going to run again.

The weather in Florida is not ideal for running during the summer.  I ran outside when I could tolerate the heat, I spent the rest of the summer on the treadmill.  I supplemented my training with walking, and doing Jillian Michael’s Body Shred.  I started to rebuild my base.  My long run was 4 miles, my short run was 2 miles.  In August, I signed up for a Sprint Triathlon.  Signing up for that gave me a goal to work for, besides the June goal of Grandma’s marathon.

Today I ran, and it was a huge milestone.  I ran 10 miles.  This was my first double-digit run since November of 2014.  It was not a hard run either.  It felt easy.  I ran it a 9:30 min/mile, which is the same pace I was training for Georgia Publix (my PR marathon).  Granted, I was inside, and on a treadmill, it felt comfortable.  It was fun.  I was smiling the entire time!!!  My weight is starting to come off again.  My weight had gone up since my dad passed in June, and now I have 9 pounds to lose before I reach my goal weight, and everything today seems so achievable.  What’s more, I just got an e-mail from a client!  She got my number from another runner, and I may be working with a high school soccer star on his endurance and running.

I Am Retiring…

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On June 18th, 2016 I will be officially semi-retired.  I am going to retire from running marathons.  I will be 40-years-old, and I figure if I don’t qualify for Boston by then, I won’t.  I say semi-retired, because I don’t plan on fully retiring.  I am literally working double time to lose weight and put my best foot forward in training for my “last” marathon, Grandma’s marathon.  Grandma’s will be my last 26.2 race, unless I qualify for Boston, then I intend on running Boston Marathon.

I say semi-retired, because I’m not giving up on endurance sports entirely.  Not in the least.  I have one more thing I have added to my endurance bucket list.  I said I would never do one, but I’ve change my mind.  I learned a valuable lesson the last few weeks and months.  I learned that you have one life, and to live your dreams.  Make goals and accomplish them.  Life is short and fleeting.  So I have decided that after I run my last marathon that I am going to dedicate myself to competing in Triathlons.

Not just any Triathlons, but Ironman Triathlons.  I watched one today, and realized that there are many people competing in this kind of sport that most would not see as triathletes.  My first goal after my retirement is to run a few sprints.  I plan on upgrading to Olympic distance, then eventually half Tris.  After I accomplish a few half Triathlons, I plan on signing up for an Ironman.  I hope to accomplish this before I turn 50.

I have no desire to run ultras, so Triathlons.  But first Grandma’s.  I have cracked the diet code.  I have discovered that I do really well eating small meals every few hours.  Everyone has their own body chemistry to overcome. In the last week I have dropped 5 pounds following these simple steps:

1.  Eat small meals throughout the day.

2.  Have 1-2 cheat days.

3.  Give up sweets and sodas (I have not been dedicated enough to give up my worst vice– wine).

4.  Move A LOT…  Today I burned over 1200 calories, and only 300 of those calories were actual running miles.

1.  Here’s my small meal schedule:

Meal 1 (AM): I eat/drink a protein shake*

Meal 2 (AM):  I have a small container of greek yogurt (it seems to help keep my gut in balance– I have a condition called leaky gut, it’s related to IBS)

Meal 3 (late AM): I eat/drink another protein shake*

Meal 4 (PM): A light meal– usually I eat a salad or similar meal.  My favorite is a Tomato Salad.  A friend of mine and I used to partake in these salads when we were both living in Germany.

Meal 5 (PM): A piece of fruit

Meal 6 (PM): A 400-800 calorie dinner

2.  In between each of those I drink a 16 ounce container of water.  In 4 days that I have done this.  I have lost 5 pounds.  Friday and Saturday are my “cheat days.”  I have allowed myself to have a little bit of wine and some additional snacks– tonight I’m going to eat popcorn while binge watching Harry Potter movies :).

3.  With exception of my last two cheat days, I have not had any soda or sweets.  I have found the best balance of fruits and vegetables to quench any cravings I have.  Salty crunchy cravings, I have a salad and add dried quinoa or lightly salted nuts to it.  Sweet cravings, I eat fruit, or dried fruit.

4.  Move A LOT.  Each day, I make it my personal goal to do my 10,000 steps (or 5 miles).  Most days that feat is accomplished through running, and a little bit of walking.  On my rest days, I still walk.  I started with Jillian Michael’s Body Shred, and I’ve found that that workout has help considerably with my strength and endurance.  I rarely sit down.  Today, I spent the day cleaning my room, which I do about once a season.  This morning, I ran 3 miles, walk another 2 miles, and then spent 3 hours deep cleaning.  I took a break cleaning, and did Jillian Michaels workout 4.  At 6:00 PM, I’m finally just now sitting down and relaxing.  I have learned that activity doesn’t just mean “working out,” it means moving.

Hopefully, these steps will help you as well….

* I use Isagenix Pro Natural Chocolate or Isalean Pro Chocolate for my protein shake.  I am no longer doing the Isagenix Cleanses.