Rest in Peace, Senator.

I haven’t blogged in a while, mostly because life is going fairly well for me…all things considered. I need to feel inspired in order to write about brain cancer, since my coping strategy is to try to keep it in the back of my mind and writing about it brings it to the forefront.

Unfortunately, inspiration hit today with the passing of Senator John McCain.

I have so many feelings on this, and am not sure how to express all of them.

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I will start with emphasizing how ANGRY I was when he was first diagnosed with brain cancer. I remember learning that he had been diagnosed with a Glioblastoma, which is a Stage 4 Glioma. (For reference, I have a Stage 3 Glioma). THERE IS NO CURE FOR GLIOBLASTOMA. When doctors reference survival rates, they are referring to the amount of time someone with GBM has left. People diagnosed with GBM are usually dead within 12 months of diagnosis.

I was diagnosed with brain cancer in March of 2017, and Senator McCain was diagnosed 4 months later. At the time, I was very angry as I was still coping with my own diagnosis. I was getting so mad at people who would tell me “a positive attitude beats cancer! Fight on, warrior!” If it was that easy, I’d put on my boxing gloves while singing songs about sunshine. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Don’t tell me about the essential oils that will miraculously cure my cancer, or the special diet I need to go on. It’s maddening. If essential oils cured cancer, I’m pretty sure cancer would be eradicated.

When I learned Senator McCain had GBM, I knew his time was limited. And to hear so many people – including his former Presidents and senate colleagues – say that John McCain would beat this cancer because of his fighter mentality… well, it made me realize how uninformed people are. Being diagnosed with GBM is literally a death sentence, and it’s devastating.

Right now, I’m feeling sad and angry.

I’m heartbroken for the McCain family, and if you haven’t read Meghan McCain’s post on twitter today honoring her father, you should. It will bring tears to your eyes (or if you are me, waterworks…) but is also a beautiful tribute.

I’m angry that brain cancer research is one of the most underfunded areas, and yet the cure rate for this cancer is significantly lower than other cancers. I’m angry that the media reporting on John McCain’s diagnosis misinformed so many people, giving them false hope that the Senator could “beat” this diagnosis. He never had a chance.

I believe John McCain knew from the moment he was diagnosed that he would succumb to this disease. But in typical John McCain fashion, he wanted to give the public hope – and show them his courage and strength.

We lost a father, husband, son, leader, teacher, role model, and truly great American today, and my heart is broken.

Rest in Peace, Maverick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first “official” 5k! (Prepping for Disney.)

As I sit here with my feet up on the couch, sipping a glass of post-race wine and trying to stretch out my calves…I can’t help but think – WOW! That was actually fun!

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I just finished my first official 5k race (race bib and all!) and woof, I am tired. But, I’m training to do a half-marathon in February, and my trainer told me I need to start running legitimate races in order to prepare myself for the Disney half. (Before today, my only 5k’s were done on treadmills at my own pace.)

Steven, my younger brother Cam, his girlfriend Maisie, and a few of their friends all signed up and we ran the race together. It was the Cambridge, MA Freedom 5K, so it had

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Me and Cam post-race

a patriotic theme and we were decked out in #Merica gear. I thought because people get dressed up for it, it was going to be more of a “fun run” – but people took it pretty freakin’ seriously! The winner ran a 15:28 5k, which was an average 4:59 mile…whaaat?! I think I was hitting the 1 mile mark at 16 minutes…

I ended up finishing with a time of 46:57. Not a great 5k time for me, but again – this was my first 5k outside and running outside is SO much harder than on a treadmill! My butthead brother ran a 21:40 minute 5k and Maisie ran 24:55. Overachievers!

 

Anyway, I have some takeaways from the race…

  • Everyone is friendly and supports each other
  • I definitely have a competitive streak in me
  • I need to train harder for Disney
  • Downhill stretches are AWESOME
  • Running outside is way harder than running on a treadmill
  • These races are FUN and so are the after-parties!

Overall, it was a lot of fun and even though the actual race was hard, I enjoyed it. I had toIMG_3092 walk some (OK, a lot) of it – but running the final stretch and crossing the finish line was such an adrenaline rush! And it felt great – I’ve always wanted to do something like that. I was very nervous at the beginning when we were lined up in the starting corrals, but once people started moving I felt totally fine (even though I was in the back for the most of it!).

I was a runner before all of this cancer “stuff” started, and back in high school I would go for 3-4 mile runs every morning. It sounds silly but running this race is bringing me back to that state of mind, which was a very healthy place for me. I’m going to keep on training, run outside more, and keep prepping for Disney! I’m excited to do more races!

Dealing with Jealousy

I can openly admit, I’m jealous of all of the things cancer has taken from me. I often wonder if other people in my situation feel the same way.

12938323_10101213753919456_5165543849475150707_nI was scrolling through facebook earlier, and saw a post from the young couple who bought our first home from us last summer. I had just been diagnosed with brain cancer when we decided to put the house on the market. Steven and I had decided that I’d need a newer, updated house with a fenced in yard for our 75 pound dog while undergoing chemotherapy since Steven frequently travels for work.

Our town is a seller’s market, where houses receive multiple offers. We received a letter from a young couple that they submitted with their offer, telling us how much they loved our house and couldn’t wait to start a family in it.┬áThe letter actually upset me, because that’s exactly what Steven and I had wanted. We bought that home with starting a family in mind, and had written a similar letter to the previous owners when we bought it. Now, our lives had been turned upside down and we knew that would never happen in our first home.

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Me and Steven in front of our first home the day we closed.

Anyway, this young couple announced today via facebook that they are expecting their first baby. I’m not sure why, but I immediately felt jealous. That had been our house, that had been our plan, and now they were living there decorating their nursery (bet it’s the back bedroom, which is perfect for a nursery) while I’m battling terminal brain cancer. It’s not this young couple’s fault – so why do I feel such jealousy towards them? Has my cancer diagnosis made me that spiteful? Am I just trying to blame anyone I can for what’s happened to my life?

And it’s not just young couples starting families that I’m jealous of. I’m jealous of people my age who are excelling in their careers while I can’t even work. I was always very career-oriented before all of this started.

I’m jealous of people whose biggest problems in life are that their cars aren’t working, or that they had a falling out with a best friend. Sure, those are problems and it might seem like the end of the world, but you can move on from those problems. You can’t move on from terminal cancer.

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I just lost my aunt to ovarian cancer last week. Another loss to cancer. I was very close to her, and miss her so much. She was the kindest, most unselfish person I knew, and I wish I had asked her about her thoughts on this. I don’t think she was jealous of anyone. I think she was happy with the life she had, and loved her friends and family. I need to learn how to be more like her, and care less about the things I can never have. I hate feeling jealous of others, because it’s not their fault I have this cancer diagnosis. But I can’t shake this jealousy. Does anyone else feel the same way?

 

Thanks for reading/letting me vent.

xxx Becca