Posts Tagged ‘Luther College’



I am wearing the red swim cap

Luther College Alumni Meet

Women's Session 2

Women’s Session 2

MN Open snatch

MN Open snatch

MN Open Clean and Jerk

MN Open Clean and Jerk

So October has had its ups and downs.  My athletic pursuits have included Luther College’s Alumni swim meet and The Minnesota Open Weightlifting Championships in which my performance was hampered by a bought of bronchitis and asthma exacerbation that need antibiotics. I also was on the last day of a 5 day oral chemotherapy course for the weightlifting meet and worked night shift the night before. I am happy,  I got a total on my lifts for my first weight lifting meet even though I missed 1 of my snatches and 1 clean & jerk.

I also went to the ER last week with a strange cluster of symptoms likely cause by a number of things working together. At the ER I learned my lymphocyte count was low which makes me a little worried especially when I work with sick people. My energy is low and I have been so busy that and little time I have I need to sleep or relax. My house chores are not getting done.

Today marks 5 months since my brain surgery. My incision has healed and my hair is starting to grow back. I just hope my tumor is not growing back. Although my last MRI showed a contrast enhanced area on the border of where my tumor was removed. My physicians are leaning towards scar tissue but are uncertain. Only time will tell if this is tumor growing back. If it is tumor, hopefully chemo will shrink it. I have my next MRI in about 1 month.

Today also marks the beginning of marathon training. The only way I can stay focused on exercising is if I have a goal.  My goal is to run the Med-City Marathon and 5K to mark the anniversary of my surgery and brain cancer diagnosis.  The Med-City Marathon weekend is Memorial Day Weekend the last weekend in May. May is also Brain Tumor Awareness Month. I am already planning to wear grey for the marathon and run the marathon to raise funds for brain tumor research.  Gotta  get my strength and endurance up to help find a treatment and a cure for this awful disease that is the leading cancer killer among youth under 20, the second leading cause of cancer deaths among males 20-39, and the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths among  females  20-39. These statistics are unreal since only about 25,000 people are diagnosed in the US each year with a malignant brain tumor and the majority of the people diagnosed are 40 and over.  Although the term brain cancer also includes some non-malignant tumors.  1 step closer to 26.2 and 1 step closer to a cure.

The WOD 10/24/13: CrossFit then 30minutes of 200yd run, 200yd walk

~ dmj

Thanks Coach!

Thanks Coach!






I have new goals to work on through the first part of October.

October 5 is the Luther College Alumni Swim meet and new aquatic center dedication. I plan to focus on swimming to get ready for this meet and master swimming meets later in the year. Focus on backstroke and middle-distance freestyle. Starting masters practice in September. Still having problems with flip-turns after surgery since starting to swim again a few weeks ago, so I hope this resolves.

October 12 is the Minnesota Open Olympic Weightlifting Competition.  While my max is still at 85% of my PR’s and my PR’s are far below the competition in my weight division I am going to give the completion a try just for the experience. Unfortunately this competition is after I work a night shift. Going to start attending Olympic lifting classes again at my CrossFit gym and do lots of bar work. I have a good coach so I hope I make progress.

Also plan on participating in Whole Life Challenge. A wellness incentive program that focus on a Paleo diet, exercise, mobility, etc.

Since my energy is limited and recovery prolonged by chemo medications and not being allowed to take antioxidants.  I will have to devote my time to these to activities and only CrossFit 1-2 x/ week.




Reminder to self

Today was the day I saw my neuro-oncologist (NO). I did not even sit down and I was called for the appointment. “He is ready for you,” was the reply I got from the medical assistant. The diagnosis is what I expected from the MRI. My NO said that I have grade III anaplastic astrocytoma. He stated that even though the surgeon the visible tumor, I would be required to have 6 weeks, 5 days per week, of radiation therapy.  Plus, I would be eligible for a chemotherapy trial as scientists are not sure if chemotherapy, Temozolomide/Temodar (TMZ), is effective for grade III glioma. As my NO continued to examine me, I told him that the caffeine was effective in relieving my headache. During the appointment he told me that I could contact a fertility doctor, for concerns about my desire to have children. I started asking him about the causes of the tumor, but he stated that there is nothing I did that caused it-just bad luck. He was very helpful in answering all my questions.

Once my NO left, a nurse entered the room with resources. She gave me a binder and a folder full of patient education material from the American Brain Tumor Association, Mayo Clinic, and American Cancer Association. The nurse reviewed it thoroughly with me. In addition, she urged me not to look online at survival times because as she stated tumor location, amount removed during surgery, individual’s health, plus a number of other factors determine survival. Then I told her about someone I knew who lived with a brain tumor for 15 years. I asked her if she heard of Johanna Olson. She shook her head and said yes.

Johanna Olson

Johanna Olson was my teammate when I joined the Luther College track team during my senior year. Johanna had won the 2000 NCAA cross country championships on the third anniversary of her first brain surgery. She also anchored the indoor distance medley team that won the national championship. She also ran in two Olympic marathon trials 2004 and 2008.

I had never run track before, but I was interested in another sport and I wanted to prepare for my future triathlons. Every day I looked out of the window from the cafeteria at the blue track and wanted to join the track team. I knew I was a good runner, but perhaps not championship quality. After swim season ended, I joined the track team. On my first warm-up with the distance squad I felt like I was racing. Johanna looked back and asked, “are you OK?”    Johanna was always concerned about her teammates and an inspiration to all.

After the nurse, came research study coordinator. She informed me about two studies. The first was a biobank study requiring me to donate a blood sample and fill out a questionnaire. I signed up for this one. The next was the chemotherapy trial, which I reserved signing for a later date.

Time to eat a good meal at Chesters. I ate salmon, cranberry-walnut salad, brie cheese curds, and strawberry shortcake.

During the evening, I went to the Rochester Athletic Club to walk on the track and for a book signing. The book that was being signed was, Determined to Matter, by Jen Ohara. Jen’s book shares the blog that she wrote and their journey with their teenage daughter’s battle with a brain tumor. As I approached the signing table, I wanted to tell them about my diagnosis but I did not. Little did they know, the woman standing in front of them was told she had brain cancer earlier that day.  I highly recommend reading the book and proceeds go to brain tumor research scholarships.

My workout of the day (WOD) consisted of a 5 lap walk around the track.  During this time, I wished I could be lifting weights like everyone on the fitness floor. I remind myself I will be soon.