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.

 

I Wear Athletic Wear To Chemo And Other Crazy Things I Do…

I have done some pretty crazy things the last several weeks since I was diagnosed with cancer.  Here are a few of them:

I wear running clothes to chemotherapy.  And when I am not wearing the same clothes I would wear running a marathon, I go out and buy “chemotherapy” outfits.  So far I have bought three new outfits that I have only worn to chemo.  And I have purchased scarves and headgear to match.

I let my daughter shave my head.  That’s right, I handed a razor over to a 10-year-old and said, “Have fun…”

I bring my laptop and a puzzle book to chemo with every intention to work on my novel.  I have not done one puzzle, nor have I written one word on the novel since December.  I sit there for 5 hours, talk to other cancer patients, talk to whoever has rode with me, or I binge watch “Law And Order Special Victims Unit” on USA Network.

I have started running again.  I announced on my Caring Bridge Site that I was running, and got a slew of texts, and calls telling me that I was insane for running, and running outside at that.  In my defense, my doctor is fully supportive, and he said that he wants me running.  I would never do anything to jeopardize my health or recovery.

I plan on getting a tattoo and piercings after I am done with chemo.  I actually plan on getting a teal butterfly tattoo somewhere on my body.  I want to commemorate what I have survived, and I also am thinking about getting my nose pierced.  I don’t really care that I’m 40, and it may seem hipster-ish.

I have contemplated doing crazy clean eating diet, but opted for chocolate, jellybeans, and Fritos.  I was going to do a green smoothie diet, with fresh organic vegetables, and lots of fruits.  Unfortunately, I am allergic to bananas.  (Sorry TMI) Pineapples give me the runs.  And the only thing that really stays down are bagels, cream cheese, chocolate, jellybeans, and Fritos.

 

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.

Writer’s Block

Life

It has been at least two weeks since I last worked on the novel.  I touched it a few days ago, but lost interest– gotta love neurological conditions that do not allow you to concentrate on more than one thing at a time.  I did several mosaics the last few weeks, cleaned the house, concentrated on training, and did everything physically possible to do the one thing that puts me at complete ease.

The last few weeks and months have been crazy.  It started the last week of October when I had to do something incredibly difficult with my daughter.  To protect her privacy, I am not going to write about what happened, only the end result is another child diagnosed with another condition, and facing the decision again what medications are going to be best for what is happening.

On top of that, dealing with the lingering sadness of the loss of my dad, Ryan’s teacher, another child with autism, and just the suck of having to put on a happy face this holiday season.  But there is so much more to look forward to rather than looking back.  Good things have happened too:

My brother did a good thing, and sold a parcel of his business to a church that was expanding.  He is some of the money to my mom.

My son is now doing academics.  Though he is 12, he is now in Kindergarten.  This is a huge step forward from the full-on regression.

My daughter gets to finish up school in the same school she started Kindergarten in.  This is unheard of for military families, but a kind doctor, a great commander, and finally, a stroke of somewhat bad luck, we are staying in Florida another year.

Despite writers block, I am making some headway with the novel.  I am also applying for an MBA program to go back work.  I would like to return to professional work, and I know now that I will not be able to unless I have updated professional skills.  It’s just a matter of deciding what school and what program.

Besides going back to work and school, my running is on an uptick.  I’m averaging around 40-50 miles per week.  I’m as skinny as I when I was in the Air Force.  I’m in a size 2, which I am absolutely thrilled about.  I have four races on the calendar, and I’m no longer injured.  I do have some residual soreness, but it’s not the pain I was experiencing last year.

Another Star Wars movie is coming out in three weeks, and I snagged tickets to it.  Writing can wait.

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.

Run Streaking…

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The last few weeks I have struggled with running.  I am not training for anything, because of the injury to my hip/back.  With summer coming, it has become very challenging.  I am not great in the heat, even though we have lived here for the last four summers, I just cannot get into it.  This year is our last year here in Florida (maybe), and we are probably making the trek from Florida to Washington DC– Marine Corps Marathon here I come :).  Anyway, I decided to do my first ever run streak.  For 41-days I will run every single day.  Whether it be 8-10 miles, or just one mile.  I have signed up to run a streak.  It started on Memorial Day, when I ran 4 miles and yesterday I did one mile.  Today, I plan on doing 6 miles.