Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ultra is What I Do Best

Unlike the other day when I took the picture of my guardian squirrel, right now it's snowing outside the woman cave as I write this. Not very motivating weather. I am proud to say I have run for three days in a row now. Haven't been out to run yet today and this blogpost is just another procrastination strategy. I really do need to get out there. I hate to interrupt my streak...

I've been working on talking with people, social media, spreading the word, putting some finishing touches on the website for the big launch of Cancer Harbors on Monday.

I was interviewed on a podcast, this time about nursing, listen if you're interested. It's been nearly two and a half years since I left the hospital and a lot has happened and I've come a long way. Every day is still full of learning and uncertainty, but I keep pushing ahead. It's an ultra, and ultra is what I do best.

Last night I ran with Wheaties Boy again and we talked marketing strategy. He put my mind somewhat more at ease with some things I've struggled with. It was raining and he was in shorts, I was bundled up in winter clothes. Now it's snowing but not sticking to the ground. Spring in Colorado is always interesting.

If I can somehow get brave enough to go in the house, change into running clothes, and get out, even for a half hour, I will feel so good. I should get my butt out of the vortex and go!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Vicarious Vlogging: Easter Sunrise at Horsetooth

This morning I dragged my butt out of bed at 5 am so I could run up the big hill at Horsetooth with my friend Connie, whom I haven't seen in months. It was entirely worth it, to see her and to see the sunrise, which was awesome. Instead of taking a million pictures I decided to share it in a video. The moon was setting above Horsetooth Rock, you could see the reflection of it in frozen puddles alongside the road, the deer were out, and the light on the snowy foothills was pinkish-orange.

It's been a busy week, I only ran twice including today, and it's all about being in the butt vortex for work. I should be able to break the seal on the chair again soon. For now, enjoy the video, and I'll have more adventures to share soon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Turbulence and Challenge

After a pathetic week with the snow and cold, I finally got out and ran an easy five mile run with Emma on Sunday. We did Bingham Hill, which gave it a little challenge. I didn't feel bad at all running up the steep side and we talked the whole way.

Yesterday I got a good ten miles in on my feet, about seven of those were running. I'm running with Wheaties Boy tonight. It's warm again but windy today. There were whitecaps on the lake when I went out to do a therapeutic walk late this morning.

Now I'm tapping my feet at the desk. It's the calm before the storm. Tomorrow I meet with the marketing firm to plan the last steps before we launch my new service, Cancer Harbors. I'm nervous with anticipation. I don't expect miracles to happen and certainly not overnight success. It's going to be a process, much like an ultra, with ups and downs, good and bad patches, without a finish line on the horizon.

I'm troubled by something I learned yesterday, about one of the runners I've admired for many years, he's in his 80s, and just got some bad medical news. Cancer is something I am around all the time. I hate what this disease does to people, and I like that I am able to intervene in some ways and make things somewhat smoother, even if I can't fix any of it. There's been enough cancer in my family, and around me, in addition to my work and my clients, that it is something I've become used to, but not in a way of losing empathy or numbness.

I do know that burnout is something I will have to avoid, it is always a possibility when you're in healthcare and working with people who have intense needs. There's a certain distance you become able to maintain, but not enough that you can't emotionally grasp what they are experiencing. I don't know how to describe it. The ability to do that must be somewhat of a necessity if you're going to work in this field. You also need to be able to give something back to yourself, to refill your own tank.

Right now in addition to my dad's recent treatment and tentative remission, and the fact that a young person close to our family is in a hospital being prepped for a second bone marrow transplant after a leukemia relapse, and doing all I can to support my stepmom and others through coping with my dad's health problems, and my daily work which involves caring for people going through various phases of treatment or after treatment, it seems like I've been going along doing pretty well.

And then this news yesterday hit me. I was trying to figure out why it bothered me so much. He's lived a long active healthy and fun life. He expresses gratitude for all he's been able to do and experience in his time. It makes me mad that he has to deal with this, but then I know that cancer bully doesn't care, it picks on anyone and for no particular reason.

Those who think that by being a runner, eating healthy food and living a low stress lifestyle they can avoid cancer are just fooling themselves. There are other reasons to take care of yourself, of course, but if you're going to develop cancer, you're going to. At least until the day when we figure out whatever goes on inside our bodies molecularly and genetically to get cancer started and stop it.

Maybe it's because lately I wonder about my own existence, I've been working so hard on Cancer Harbors that I have foregone running, ultras, adventures, traveling, and having the money to do it. I've always felt that if I died tomorrow I would not regret it, I feel like I have packed a lot of living and fun into 52 years. If I'm taking up space on the planet, I need to be contributing something, and by coloring outside the lines and being disruptive and vocal, not following the beaten path, I am.

Recently I've been missing something, and maybe it is the accumulation of the caregiving role combined with the lack of spiritual outlet that running ultradistances gives me. Maybe it's working alone, without coworkers or people to talk to for most of the day, not even having the counsel of Iris and Isabelle anymore, in all of their superior wisdom. I don't know what independent health care providers do to take care of themselves, to cope with the emotional burden of the work they do. I have probably two dozen people I could reach out to, but they're all too far away for face-to-face conversation, in the flesh.

There's also the nagging thought that rarely surfaces but is back there somewhere, with my crazy family history of leukemia and other cancers, and who knows if they are hereditary or just random, that something could be waiting for me up ahead, and I want to be able to face it if I need to, with no regrets. So maybe what I really need to do is start running long again, just getting out on the trails around here more often, being outside and experiencing as much as I can while my resources are limited. Being outdoors always has been my solace. I need to find a way to challenge myself regularly again.

Climbing fences and trees with a corncob in your mouth adds an element of challenge.

Yesterday my friend Marissa saved the day for me, she is putting on another run like the Equinox run we did last spring in Arvada. This time it will be over Labor Day weekend. It will be an early fall equinox event, called "There Goes The Sun". That gives me a little over five months to get ready to spend 12 hours on my feet. I needed that much more than I realized. I'm going.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Big Launch

I have to admit, I have experienced somewhat of a backslide the past week. It didn't help that we woke up to 6 inches of fresh snow the other day with temperatures in the 30s and a stiff wind to cool things down further. It also didn't help that I am up to my eyeballs in work trying to get ready for the launch of my new website and online service April 4-8.

By the way, you are all invited to join my online open house that goes April 4-8. On Twitter @cancerharbors and you can ask questions using the hashtag #cancerharbors or visit the new website which goes live April 4th, or visit my Facebook page called Cancer Harbors (and "like" it, too, if you do, please!)

This past Tuesday I ran with Wheaties Boy, 7 miles, which just about killed me, but was so good for me, too. And after that I have not run. I have been in stuck in the butt vortex again!

It's okay, I do need to put an unusual number of hours in the office right now, getting all the last minute arrangements set. I will get back to it and Emma and I are going running tomorrow morning. We are supposed to see temperatures in the 70s again by early next week.

Here is what my desk looked like today. Spent all day Saturday in here. And the picture below is of Dennis looking at the Cancer Harbors modules on the iPad.

I have been missing the girls something awful this week, too. I go in phases where I do okay and then something hits me and I miss them. I thought I heard Isabelle flapping her ears, then realized it was the dishwasher. Someone I know has a new litter of Australian Shepherd puppies and keeps posting pictures of the on Facebook and it's killing me. Those puppies are so cute, and I want one, but we're not ready and I know it.

In other news, my butt is just about healed up except for the one deep puncture, that still itches and scabs over. And there was some excitement in my former hometown of Fountain Hills, Arizona today where there was a Donald Trump rally and my old buddy Sheriff Joe Arpaio used the opportunity to get some attention of his own. Never have I been so glad to be gone from that place!

I heard the protesters tried to block Shea Boulevard with their cars. I was afraid there would be violence, because if anyone incites it besides Trump, it's Sheriff Joe. And those people in Fountain Hills love their guns. But as far as I've heard, it wasn't too rowdy. Sheriff Joe is 83 and says he's running for a seventh term. Just more evidence that Arizona has a serious racism problem.

Maybe we should build a wall around Fountain Hills while Sheriff Joe, Trump, and all the Trump supporters are in one place, and make Trump pay for it! But then Sheriff Joe and his black helicopter squadron would probably rescue Trump from the air and take him to the casino on the reservation just outside of town, and they'd put TRUMP in big gold letters on it so that would be the only thing you could see for miles in the desert. And that would suck.

Those are my thoughts for the day after spending 11 hours out here in my office in the cave. I think I need a beer and to go to bed.

Tomorrow is another day. I promise I will run again and get out of the butt vortex.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Tramp Stamp

Life goes on. I hit the big 52 on Thursday. I took the day off and went to Boulder, as I often do on my birthday. I don't know why, maybe I feel like I have to go down there and remind myself that I'm glad I live in Fort Collins? I stopped at Union Reservoir in Longmont to take a picture of Longs Peak reflected in the water. Soon it will be time to get back up there on the trails.

I ran several days this week and felt pretty good. I'm not accumulating very many miles. The motivation has been off and on. Once I get a schedule in place, it will help. Just another couple of weeks and I will have that in place, too.

The weather has been so nice, we are finally getting a few 70 degree days. We did some yard work and cleaned up the front garden. It's too early to plant anything as we will get at least one more major snowstorm and many hard frosts before we're safe to plant outside. It's supposed to snow this week. That's a good thing, we need some moisture. It's been so dry since the last snowstorm.

My butt is healing. It finally stopped itching over the last day or two. Honey Boo Boo has a sign hung on her gate to her backyard that says "Dangerous Dog". I am sure the people who own the house love it. Maybe she should have thought of that before she let her dogs run wild.
Nice pic of my 1/2 smiley face tramp stamp surrounded by rash and adhesive-trashed skin. You can see two of the punctures and then the deep canine puncture tunnel makes up the half smile. It's healed up really well. I looked at my jeans and I can see why the one puncture on the right went so deep- the front teeth caught me through the pocket of my jeans, the canine was in the area where it was only a single layer of fabric. I'm lucky I was wearing jeans and not running shorts or tights.

I saw Wheaties Boy today. He's been injured, struggling to come back. We made a pact to start running together on Tuesday nights now that we're on daylight savings time again and we have the light in the evenings. Hopefully this will be the thing that pushes me past the edge of trying to motivate myself. I've been doing pretty well but since the bite I haven't been as motivated.

I launch my new online service, Cancer Harbors, the week of April 4-8. The website will be launched that week. For now it's still the temporary landing page. I'm going to do an online open house, using Twitter, Facebook, the website, email, and other social media.

I'm excited, scared, nervous, relieved, and all kinds of emotions about it. I can't wait to make the switch to marketing though, I have had enough of sitting on my butt for a while!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

In Like a Lion...

What a week!

Starting with the dog bite incident last Saturday, the week unfolded into further bits of unwanted disruption. But we're still here, feet on the ground, AND breathing. Deep breaths.

Sunday the dog catcher (animal control) came over to take a statement from me. I felt like I couldn't really let go of the incident until I got a chance to say what happened. The animal control officer was really nice and helpful. The rabies was expired so the dog went to be quarantined at the pound. They cited Honey Boo Boo for 4 violations, so she'll be paying through the nose and I will also be sending her my medical bills.

Turns out the dog's rabies vaccine expired last August, so I wasn't too worried about would still have antibodies. At least I got out of that.

Then it was back to work. Other than having to get my butt dressing changed twice a day and the tape breaking down my skin, making it more painful every time, I was doing okay.

The Wheels Come Off

Wednesday night Dennis's ball joint broke on his left front axle, the wheel came off just as he was turning onto a side street in our neighborhood. Lucky he was going about 5 mph when it happened. I wasn't even awake- I was sleeping because I had to wake up at 4 to drive to Denver in the morning with my student for SoPE- Society of Physician Entrepreneurs meeting.

Dennis took the day off on Thursday, got the car towed to Toyota, and rented a car. I always remind myself money does grow on trees, though. It is a renewable resource. And we haven't gotten an estimate yet...

Early in the week the gauze and tape dressing got to the point where it hurt worse than the bite, so we switched to waterproof tegaderm-like patches. By Thursday I graduated to little bandaids. I couldn't do my abdominal exercises that required sitting on my butt. I didn't run all week.

By the weekend I was ready to run again. Saturday I ran Coyote Ridge with a friend and did well on the trails. That was 7 1/2 miles and felt so refreshing. This morning I ran 6 miles on the roads and did some faster strides. And...I stood on the scale and I'm down to 132 after 3 weeks of cutting back on beer, and watching what I eat. Only 12 pounds to go.

By the end of this week I should have a pretty good idea of when I can launch Cancer Harbors, my online service. I met a journalist at the SoPE meeting and will be able to get a company pitch in his publication. I'm plugging away at the last minute details.

This week is looking a bit crazy at the beginning, but Thursday is my birthday and I plan to do something for myself that day. Not sure what. You only turn 52 once.

I really wanted to go off on a rant in this blogpost but I'll save it for later. Something about irresponsible people who have no sense of connection or responsibility to other people. Yes it has to do with irresponsible dog owners, like the girl I saw today with the pit bull. The dog was wearing a leash, yes, but it was not connected to its owner. I probably wouldn't have even noticed except that I am hyperaware since the bite. But also about people with irresponsible attitudes about guns and people who attend Donald Trump rallies. I don't have the energy tonight. But I wish these Darwin award contenders would hurry up and get it over with before they pollute the gene pool any further.

That's all I've got left tonight. Later...