Posts Tagged ‘Olympic weightlifting’

BT_cancer_cannot

March 22, 2014 represents the anniversary of learning that I had a possible brain tumor. After I nearly blacked out while driving home after work, I went to the ER and waited 2 hours just to get in. I told them what happened. They did several tests including a head CT. When I asked about my CT results the staff replied, “Well there is a spot on your CT scan, we do not know what it is but we will have neurology see you.” The neurologist came in did  thorough neuro-testing. He stated that the CT results like what I had represent 90% of the time meningioma, a benign brain tumor. I was discharged from the ER with a follow-up appointment in a week.
The next part of the story, which is written in previous posts, should have never happened at Mayo Clinic. Very few brain tumor survivors and caregivers that I have talked to had to wait over two months from when they found the tumor to the actual  biopsy let alone after a seizure wait over a month to get on medication. I guess looking back if I known the seriousness of the issue I would have been more proactive but I believed what the ER doctor also believed that the tumor was meningioma. In reality the tumor is an evolving astrocytoma meaning it starts as a lower grade and progresses to a higher grade (more malignant) over time.

Rochester Barbell Club members at MN LWC

Rochester Barbell Club members at MN LWC

Fast forward one year to March 22, 2014. On the same day one year later I competed in my second Olympic weightlifting competition, the Minnesota LWC Championship. Although not much of the US knows about the sport and the number of competitors at the meet was small with well less than 70 competitors, the sport is growing and becoming more popular in the US thanks in part to CrossFit. It is my new found sport and although I am not that strong relative to the competition it forces me to keep getting stronger. Weightlifting is as much of a mental sport as much as physical sport. Although you may have support from your team, coach, and the spectators, in reality it is just you, the barbell, and the referees. I repeat it is just you, the barbell, and the referees. So when a bad lift was called on my snatch on what I thought was good I became upset. I told my coach that I did not want to continue with the competition because my lifts were going to be called bad-no lift. Well, I continued with the competition with good lifts on my clean and jerk and totaled. After my competition was over, I stayed for the rest of the competition which included the rest of my club, my coach and an 8 year old boy and cheered them on to PR’s. One year later I am a weightlifter now and forever.
~dmj

Survivorship and the CrossFit Games Open

This post talks about my experience in the first two weeks of the CrossFit Games Open, recent MRI results, training, the weather, and competition plans for 2014.

BT_cancer survivor

 

My MRI last Friday, March 7 confirmed that I continue in survivorship. The MRI appeared better than the last one and to celebrate I completed WOD 14.2 of the CrossFit Games Open with a score of 10 reps overhead squats at 65#. Double-under jump rope got me on the first WOD of the open, 14.1. Double-unders involve two rotations of the jump rope under your feet for each jump. I only got 7reps, but going into the workout I thought, will I get at least 1, will my Open be over in the first WOD? I gave up on double- unders last  Fall. Here is the link to my CrossFit Games Open Profile http://games.crossfit.com/athlete/68416

Almost to the top

Almost to the top

CF OPEN WOD 14.2

CF OPEN WOD 14.2

Maybe a pull-up?

Maybe a pull-up?

My training continues to improve despite the awful weather and road conditions. Yes, the cold weather and snow have made it difficult to get to the gym to get any training done. Yes it may look beautiful, but it is darn cold and I am not going to slip on the ice with only screws and plates holding a piece of my skull in place.

Nice Winter's Day Walk Cascade Creek 2014

Nice Winter’s Day Walk Cascade Creek 2014

In addition, I have decided on a tentative competition schedule for 2014. On March 1, I competed in the Minnesota Power Pull and got 1st place (well out of 2) in the Women’s Masters Division. My time, although not a post 30 y/o PR, was in the upper percentile of all female competitors even with little specific rowing training.

BT_powerpull

MN Powerpull 1st place medal

My next big competition is the Minnesota Local Weightlifting Club Championship on March 22. Even though I have been weightlifting about twice a week, I think I have hit a plateau and my weights have not increased for several months. Although despite not increasing weights, my form is improving with continued training. It does get upsetting when everyone else improves except you. Yes, they work hard to improve but I do too. I will take a hiatus from CrossFit at the end of March to train for endurance events like my marathon and triathlons. The only thing that is improving is my running. I am running faster and longer.  I cannot wait to get outside and go running along Cascade Creek on the bike trail just a few blocks from my house. This were I spent much of my time in the early 2000’s.

MP_eyeonprize

Other bits of life include finishing my soccer refereeing, working on my naturopathic degrees, trying to apply to PhD school, applying to other better jobs, coaching swimming, volunteering at the hospital, working at my nursing job, and getting my wellness business, Winning Wellness Solutions, on track.  Overall, I am keeping busy and keeping a positive outlook. I am going to just keep moving ahead and not look back.

~dmj

Christmas in Rochester, MN

Christmas in Rochester, MN

Happy Holidays,

I hope this post finds you well.  2013 was a tough year for me. The year brought both challenges and rewards. In March after having a CT for “spells” where I would not be able to use my legs and arms or blackout, I learned I had a brain tumor. After further imaging and surgery to remove the tumor on May 24, I learned that it was grade III anaplastic astrocytoma, a malignant brain tumor.  I spent much of my Summer at Mayo Clinic with 33 radiation treatments and adjunct oral chemo therapy.  That treatment is followed by oral chemotherapy 5 days each month x 6 months. I have completed 4 cycles so far and my MRI is stable.

I am still working at Golden Living Center-Rochester East skilled nursing facility in Rochester. During the beginning of the year I worked day shift but switched to nights in April because of a staffing shortage then stayed on nights after returning from surgery. Most of our residents are Mayo Clinic patients but we also care for several Olmsted Medical Center patients.  In addition to nursing, I am still an assistant coach for Med-City Aquatics. During the Fall, I coached mostly 10-13 year old swimmers and the adult masters group. I also earned extra cash as a soccer referee for youth, high school, and adult games. I also earned extra cash as a Mary Kay Skin Care Consultant and AdvoCare nutrition distributor. In addition to the above, I am still working on building my holistic wellness consulting business, Winning Wellness Solutions.

Even though my training was limited last year, I managed to participate in several events. Although about every event I participated in it rained. I finished in the lower middle third of the CrossFit Games Open. I raced a few 5K’s. My first triathlon saw cold 54 degree water temps and low 50’s air temps. I entered the water did about 50 yds and swam back to the shore. Half of my heat did not even start. The next day I participated in my first long-course meters swim meet which was held at the University of MN. During the summer, I walked a 5K as a relay in the RochesterFest Triathlon and walked a 1-mile race prior to the RochesterFest parade (and walked in the parade afterwards). The biggest highlight of my athletic pursuits in 2013 was competing in the USAT Sprint Distance National Championships in Milwaukee, WI. This was only 9 days after my last radiation treatment.  I managed to finish the triathlon. In September, I started tennis lessons.  I officially became a weightlifter in October after competing in my first sanctioned Olympic weightlifting meet.

I am in the process of applying to graduate school to earn a PhD in nursing.  Also, I just recently joined the St. Marys Hospital Auxiliary to volunteer in hospitality. My athletic goals for 2014 include Med-City Marathon, Minnesota Cup weightlifting, CrossFit Open, Ironman 70.3 Muncie, IN, USAT National Championship, and in my dreams an Ironman Inspired Kona spot.  My main goal for 2014 is to stay healthy. Thanks to all those who helped me achieve my goals in 2013.

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year,

~dmj

Below are images from 2013

FINISHED

FINISHED

I am wearing the red swim cap

Luther College Alumni Meet

Keeping a slow but steady pace

Keeping a slow but steady pace

Thanks Coach!

Thanks Coach!

Up, down, and around

Up, down, and around

TRI-UMPH

TRI-UMPH

rochester fest

Mom and I

My incision CDI.

My incision CDI.

MN Open snatch

MN Open snatch

The bell rung

The Bell

Ready for treatment

Radiation therapy

LC Alumni Soccer game

LC Alumni Soccer game

Amen

Amen

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!

 

MP_cancer death

Yesterday I went to the gym to row 15 minutes and got to Olympic weightlifting skills class. I was stronger than last week so that was a positive.
I feel so alone. I have posted the picture “no one fights alone” but I feel like I am fighting alone. Everyone asks how they can help but the most I need is someone to understand what I am going through. I can not find someone who understands that I feel to whom I can share my fears and needs. I feel guilty asking people for help with chores. I felt guilty and took a hit from my employer when I asked for a 40 hour work week and no 16 hour shifts. I am hired for 32 hours/week. It took several notes from my doctor to get this restriction. Is alopecia from radiation and surgical scar not enough evidence. Do I really need to go on disability? People have offered to help but then when I ask for it I get turned down. Other people I met with this disease have caregivers to help but feel like I am all alone. No one to listen about my fears of uncertainty. Yes, I can workout, complete a scaled WOD but in the big scheme of things I feel alone, scared, weak, and frustrated. I am stuck in a moment that I can not get out of.

~dmj

PS. If you have an answer on why I can’t upload new images from my desktop to Facebook and WordPress gallery please let me know. What is a blog with the same images?

 

I  have not written an entry for a while. I have not had a significant workout since my last entry. That is if you do not count my four hour of referring soccer last Saturday or several games in the past two weeks, 10 minute rides to satisfy my Whole Life Challenge (WLC) requirement, tennis lessons, or running around at work . Yesterday September 19 was my first time at CrossFit in a few weeks. No I did not do the WOD, but went to weightlifting skills class to prepare for my weightlifting meet the Minnesota Open on October 12, 2013. The meet is being held at my home gym CrossFit Progression. Prior to lifting, I rowed for 15 minutes. In addition, I had a 30 minute tennis lesson at 1 PM where I did pretty poor, maybe OK for my 3rd day of tennis.
The WLC challenge has been difficult. I have little energy or motivation to prepare meals. So I have eaten little. Not to mention my craving for Dr. Pepper to settle my stomach. Last week’s chemo cycle was challenging. I went to work several days with nausea. Zofran only took the edge off. Since I work night shift as a nurse I would take my chemo in the morning. Fatigue was also present and I literally could not go for more than 10 minutes without yawning. Still cannot take my Spark energy drink, which is much needed due to little antioxidants on chemo. Unable to work out at the gym, I have been using my stationary bike at home to get a 10 minute workout in then followed by stretching and foam roller. The only thing I have had the energy to do is come home, sit in front of my computer and go on FB or check emails. I notice the effects from the Decadron steroid have worn off, in that I have less energy.

BT_noone

 I also wanted to include in this post that there is a very special event happening in Rochester on Saturday October 5, 2013 at RCTC. It is the Brains Together for a Cure walk to raise awareness and funds for brain tumor research at Mayo Clinic. If you would like to walk, donate money or goods for the silent auction please go to http://www.brainstogetherforacure.org. Also, if you own a business or know of a business who would like to donate goods for a silent auction let me know or go to the above website. I am hoping the coming week is better and my blood counts from today’s test remain normal.
~dmj

Instructions: take one WOD daily and as needed for weight loss, muscle toning, gaining strength, and energy

Instructions: take one WOD daily and as needed for weight loss, muscle toning, gaining strength, and energy

I will be posting each of my WOD’s and some statistics on my blog along with a motivational photo.  In addition the blog has a new domain name http://www.braintumorwod.org.

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.

~dmj

Snatch

Snatch

CA_accomplishment

Swimming

Swimming

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.

~dmj