I started running in my mid-twenties. At first I was not sure whether I would ever enjoy the exertion and the constant push to keep going, but soon found out that being outdoors made everything else tolerable. So, I continued to run, entered in races on a regular basis, and became unable not to run. During my pregnancies I continued to run almost until the end, and, as a result had relatively uneventful deliveries for both of my sons. My body got back into running form, and I continued to stay very healthy.
As time passed, I set myself a goal of running a marathon "one day soon," and started looking into training. Then, one day, in the most unexpected and unusual way, I was diagnosed with a rare and still incurable cancer, discovered accidentally: pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer, with metastases in various parts of my abdomen. The diagnosis and its consequences were very difficult not only on my body, but also on my mind. I had stopped running, and after surgery began to walk slowly since the energy level had subsided. Running was an activity of the past.
Then, four years ago I heard Nancy Lindholm speak at a support group. Nancy founded the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation, a wonderful organization that has been funding exceedingly important research conducted by various clinicians across the country and whose goal it is to find a cure for carcinoid/neuroendocrine cancers. These doctors have made great strides, but there is still much to be done to get to a point where targeted therapies will become available for patients. Nancy's story was compelling, and I felt a strong connection and a desire to get involved with the foundation, and to do everything in my power to help raise funds to find a cure.
I helped organize the first event in Los Angeles in 2008 during the LA Marathon and decided that I could run the 5K. So, little by little, I started to run again, short spurts at first, not too fast, but enough to build some stamina. I realized that the main obstacle was my mind, not my body, as in everything we do. So, gently, every day, telling myself that "I can run to the end of the street," "I don't have to walk yet," "Just a few more steps, and then a few more, and so on..." I trained. My time for the 5K was 34' and some, but it felt great! The adrenaline helped, of course, but it was wonderful to be running again, to be "in the zone."
There have been some set backs since then, but I'm back to running (and walking too, if necessary) every day. My marathon goal will probably remain just that, but I am glad to be able to participate and raise much needed funds to help find a cure for this orphan disease. I will be wearing the Caring for Carcinoid Foundation t-shirt with its beautiful yellow sunflower and blue background on March 19. I hope you can cheer me on.
And if you would like to help me raise much needed funds to find a cure for this disease, please click here.