July 2011, my wife Christina was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC). This was devastating news for our family. When Christina first told me her diagnosis, I was literally in shock. The feeling was very similar to witnessing a traumatic event like a car accident followed by being punched in the stomach. Christina and I have a great marriage, and we have overcome a great deal of challenges throughout the years, but this is was a huge hurdle to overcome. After recovering from the initial blow (if this is ever really possible to recover 100% as it seems that the emotions involved in dealing with this disease always seem to ride just below the surface), we started battling against TNBC. Initially, Christina started down the path of the western medicine approach for breast cancer; surgey, chemotheraphy, and radiation. She had the surgery to remove the tumors, and did two rounds of chemotheraphy. Just before the third round of chemotheraphy, Christina decided to forgo traditional westerna medicine, and instead try to get her body to battle the disease using an Ayurveda wellness modality. The majority of the treatments are not covered by insurance, and they have deleted our financial resources. This is the reason for this fundraiser.
You can read more on the history of Christina's diagnosis and her battle on her blog http://christinasrealtalk.blogspot.com/.
My fight, My Blog
Running Against Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) – A Husband’s Journey is about my journey, as a husband of a wife with a TNBC diagnosis. Why did I start this blog? Let me give you a brief overview of my running experiences over the years. When I was in middle school in the late 70s, I realized I was not going to be the next Tony Dorsett, Julius Erving, or Reggie Jackson. I did not quite have the hand–eye coordination, natural athletic ability to good in football, basketball, or baseball. I did however, learned that I could run long distances easily and I did not have to do anything with a ball! I ran road races until I could join the track team in 7th grade. I continued to “try” to play football and basketball in 7th and 8th grade, and then ran track and cross-country all four years in high school. In 1985, by the end of my senior year, I became burned out on running, vowing, “never to run again!”
In 2005, twenty years later and about 75 pounds heavier, I decided it was time to get into shape. The best way I knew how to do that was to run and lift weights; I started running with some former high school friends. I fell in love with running all over again. Running enables me to let go of all the stress of the day, burn some calories, and catch a runners high – activating endorphins while mentally and physically pushing myself. I registered for the 2006 Portland Marathon to keep me motivated, and it worked. I dropped about 40 pounds and my long run was up to 20 miles. Unfortunately, during a 30k race I pulled my hamstring and could not compete in the Portland Marathon.
While I was healing and shortly after my friends raced in the Portland Marathon, I met Christina around Thanksgiving in 2003. There were many things going on during this time both personally and professionally, therefore my running took a backseat. I learned one of the many benefits of being married is eating well! The pounds came back on, and in 2007, I hit an all-time high of 269 pounds! OMG! We had just moved to Houston Texas, which is one of the hottest and most humid places I have been to in all of my life! I decided to stay indoors for my workouts initially hitting the weights and the elliptical machine to shred a few pounds. Eventually I had to start pounding the pavement [running] again to break the 250 mark.
In order to stay motivated I decided to start participating in road races again, back to my running roots. I started with 5k and 10k races. I used a Timex watch with heart rate monitor for the first year or so in Texas; running close to home or on the treadmill in the gym. Eventually I got bored with those routes, and not knowing Houston very well, I decided to get a Garmin Forerunner GPS watch (310XT). Now I had the ability to map out running routes – preventing me from getting lost, again! I love the watch as it keeps tracks of my routes, time/pace, heart rate, weight (with additional scale), and I can share my workouts on Facebook! I also started using running workouts fromwww.runnersworld.uk. This technology customizes the settings according to my race goal this data can be imported into Garmin’s Training Center and then into my watch, how cool is that? Enough with the history lesson, what is going on today?
When Christina was diagnosed with TNBC, I had been running for a couple of years, and just completed another half marathon. I was in pretty good shape, weighing in at 220 lbs. Needless to say, my running activities stopped completely for a couple of weeks following her diagnosis. I just could not be away from Christina at that time, I needed to be there for her in any way she needed. I often consulted with my friend Jana about work issues, but during this time, I leaned on her [Jana] for emotional support… to be a sounding board for me. Beyond this, I knew I needed to burn off some stress, but felt some guilt for doing something for “myself”. She encouraged me to get back to running because it would put me in a better place to be able to be there for my wife Christina. I also talked to a couple of other friends that have wives with breast cancer, and I received the similar words of encouragement. With Christina’s blessing, I started my running routine again.
Currently I am training for the Portland Marathon to be competed on October 7th, 2012. We are about eight weeks away, and my long runs are hitting 20 miles. A couple of days ago I found a site by chance talking about fundraisers for marathon runners. This is a perfect marriage between Running against TBNC, and raising funds for Christina's treatments.