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Grey is Important Too

Grey is Important Too

According to the Central Brain Tumor Registry  of the United States.

An estimated 14,930 deaths will be attributed to primary malignant brain and central nervous system tumors in the United States in 2013.

Five–year relative survival rates following diagnosis of a primary malignant brain and CNS (including lymphoma, leukemia, tumors of the pituitary and pineal glands,  and olfactory tumors of the nasal cavity) by age of diagnosis (1995-2010 data):

Age 0-19 years: 73.0% Age 55-64 years: 17.4%
Age 20-44 years: 58.1% Age 65-74 years: 10.2%
Age 45-54 years: 31.8% Age 75 or older: 5.8%

The following is the 5 year survival rates and expected mortality for breast cancer from the American Cancer Society

Total 40,000 deaths expected from breast cancer in 2014.


5-year Relative
Survival Rate












National Cancer Institute reports a 5 year survival of 33.4% for brain cancer versus a 89.2% survival for breast cancer between the years 2004-2010. Brain cancer is responsible for 2.4%  while breast cancer is responsible for 6.8% of all cancer deaths.


From the American Brain Tumor Association website:

Brain tumors are the:
second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children (males and females) under age 20 (leukemia is the first).
second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in males ages 20-39 (leukemia is the first).
fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths in females ages 20-39.


See the American Brain Tumor Association  website for more information on brain tumors and brain cancer.

Give the brain a thought.

Give the brain a thought.

Yes, pink is important too but without a brain, breasts are useless!

Most importantly!

BT_they all matter

5 K Medal

5 K Medal


2 Day Challenge Prize








Last year on Memorial Day Weekend I was in the Neuro-ICU recovering from brain cancer surgery. 1 year later, I finished the Med-City Half-Marathon  in 2:52 and the 5-K, the 2 Day Challenge, to celebrate 1 year as a cancer survivor. I like to thank all those people who made this finish possible.
In the past couple of months I have been busy, so busy that I have not made time for posts on this blog. My original plans were to finish the Med-City Marathon but in April I decided to switch to the half-marathon. This was a good decision, because I finished strong, enjoyed the perfect day, and was able to walk after the race.  I wore brain tumor awareness shirts for both events and dressed in gray for both events for brain tumor awareness. My training included weekly long “runs” with the longest duration of training 3 hours and the longest distance of straight run/walk a 15K.
Of course, the respiratory bug that I had in April did not help my run training or the Minnesota Masters Swimming Short Course State Meet. I went to this meet the day after I became sick and basically showed up to the meet. I tried to swam as fast as

13.1 Medal

13.1 Medal

I was able even with less than 5 minutes of rest between some events. The only reason I walked home with medals was I was either the only swimmer or there were only 1-2 other swimmers that were better than me.
Now with my first triathlon of 2014 less than 1 week away, I feel fitter, faster, stronger, and lighter than I have in recent years. In the race next weekend, I am going to leave nothing left at the finish.
There is another event less than 1 week away, my 1 year MRI. Yes, I am a little nervous, but who wouldn’t be. I am praying everything turns out fine. The truth is after a long year, I finally got my energy back, working longer shifts at work, and getting work done in my yard. Last weekend I went to my second annual Cancer Survivors Day event. I have been blessed, to meet all the cancer survivors I have met in this past year and by all that I have learned in the past year that has changed my views of cancer and life.
Citius, Altius, Fortius

MP_stay fighting

Swimming weekend

This weekend was a true water stop. I spent almost the whole weekend at the Rochester Recreation Center Pool shadow officiating and coaching the Regional Age Group Championships. Friday I came from radiation to the pool to shadow. The pool was hot and I had sweat dripping down my back. I felt dizzy and like I was going to fall forward into the pool. The experience was good, and I am more prepared to be a swim stroke and turn judge.

Saturday morning I went to the Rochester Brains Together for a Cure brain tumor support group. A nice little group that meets on the third Saturday of the month, but it freaks me out every time I attend. I shared my experience with aromatherapy and massage. Plus shared my dislikes and fears that I had to go back to work on Monday.  Saturday, I spent the early afternoon Olympic weightlifting at CrossFit Progression for a PR challenge and lifted about 85% of my former PR. 72.2 lbs for snatch and 95 lbs for clean and jerk. Next I headed to the rec center to get some coaching experience. I have not been at a meet coaching my current team, so I thought that this would give me some experience. Was a good experience and I got to meet some of the older swimmers on the team since I usually only work with the younger swimmers. I learned a lot observing the other coaches interactions with the swimmers and got to cheer my club on at the meet.

Sunday morning I woke up with a kick butt headache. This was my first headache in some weeks. I think it was over lifting on Saturday, but I cannot say for sure. I decide to sleep until the headache resolved and possibly even missing the first session of shadowing. The headache quieted enough where I decided to go to the pool. I got some good training from the referee and starter. They were very interested in helping me be successful and they let me have two lanes of the pool to judge while they observed me. I still felt dizzy like I was going to fall in the pool and I had to stand by the diving board base to hold me up. In time, I did not like the idea of leaning over the pool. Well, I survived the weekend and it was back to my nursing position Monday night.



I have completed  over 15  marathons, so I am comparing radiation to a marathon. I have 33 radiation treatments planned so I am counting down just as the miles in a marathon. Likewise, just as a the miles in a marathon, after each treatment I get a little more fatigued. Four days have passed on my “33 treatment marathon.”

Day 1: Honesty, I did not know what to expect. I knew I would have the radiation mask and be pinned to the table. As I laid on the table, I heard the machine moving and saw lights flashing behind my closed eyes. Went to hatha yoga but I knew my poses would be limited and no downward dog. Walked 15 minutes on the track at the RAC.

Day 2: Saw the radiation NP today. Finally got my blood tests ordered. Then radiation with Adele. When the  treatment was over I spoke with the radiation nurse educator. She said the lights flashing is common among people  getting radiation to the head. Sometimes people smell weird aromas. She said to use Aquaphor or a lotion like Vanicream on my skin in the radiation field to protect it from skin breakdown. WOD included 30 minute walk on RAC track plus stretching.

Day 3: Saw radiation social worker in AM and talked about advanced directives.  I think I have an infected ingrown toenail so I told me social worker and she brought in  my nurse. My nurse told me to go to primary care to get it looked at because it may get worse. I wanted to treat it myself. Appointment made for 3:10 PM.  Then off to Thursdays on 1st for lunch. For those outside of Rochester, Thursdays on First is a Summer weekly event with music, food vendors, and artists/crafts vendors. From 11 AM through the evening. Next off to radiation treatment. No Adele today just some soft background music. Done. I had 1.5 hours between this appointment and my next so I  sat down and worked on my advanced directives. I headed over to primary care for toe appointment, the NP confirmed it was an slightly infected L great ingrown toenail. Got an order for topical antibiotic and must soak foot 2x day for 30 minutes in Epsom salt. Went to RAC after appointment. WOD included walking 45 minutes and 15 minutes mobility.



Day 4: Woke up to thunderstorms. After the storms passed, went to Target in the morning to pick up some prescriptions. Then Panera for lunch. Home to Facebook. Next off to radiation. Home for the night. Time for lawn work. Taught my Mom how to mow my lawn and I picked weeds. Super tired. Stayed up to watch the weather because of risk for storms in Rochester and the storms that were in the TC metro. Went to bed at 10:45 but had to get up to take my chemo pills at 11:45. Up again in the basement at 2:30  with a severe thunderstorm warning. Next I noticed my basement was leaking water. Went back to bed after the storm passed and thought I’ll clean it up later, but my Mom helped a little. Time for the weekend.

 MP_no stress kid

After going out for breakfast, I spent the day sorting through all the information that I have been given by the nurse and research representative. Too much information and too many decisions to make in a short amount of time. I directed my mother on how to use my  weed remover to remove weeds from my back yard. Thank you Mom. I also had a friend come over and mow my lawn. Gave her $20. She used to mow lawns for her family business so she was a pro. Definitely needed. My lawn looks great and thank you.  Watched TV for a little while although there is nothing worthwhile on TV during Saturday night.



Workout of day: 15 minutes walking on Rochester Athletic Club’s indoor track. Got to keep moving. Triathlon for Team Breakthrough in August.


Last Day

Posted: May 23, 2013 in Brain Tumor, CrossFit, Uncategorized

Miricles and dreams

So it is finally here. Tomorrow is the day where I have my head cracked open and have someone stare at it for hours.  Not to mention 100 tubes hanging from my body. Yesterday was my last day of swim coaching, CrossFit, and work I will make this short because I have too much to do today. Like clean house, do dishes, pre-op visit, last meal, and mow the lawn. Reminder, I ask that no one visits me in the hospital! I hope to be home next week you visit me then.