One

People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day. – A.A. Milne

First week done. It wasn’t impossible, in fact, it went quite well. I hit every workout except for one strength session. I am learning where I need to adjust in my time management, and figuring out just how much longer than I estimated it will take me to do the little things like get to and from the gym, get my gear together, shower etc. The actual workout time is less of a bother because it is down on the page and I just follow the plan.

This week, I was joined on Wednesday by Tami to do a brick. This was a great thing. Her presence not only helped pass the time, but it pushed me a just enough to keep the pace up. I thought that workout was the best of the week.

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Fun friend along for a brick.

I did a lot of swimming, and biking. It seemed like I was on the bike nearly every day. By Saturday, when I had a 2 hour fifteen minute ride on the trainer, it felt more like 4 hours, but I felt very accomplished when it was over having completed the entire week and only coming off with a few expected sore muscles.

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Pear App connected to a TV while I am on the bike trainer

For time management, I had a lot of things packed into the last two days. By Saturday, I had a long bike ride, a wedding shower to attend, and friends over for dinner. Happy to say that all three were successful with some help from Adam and Denis. I think it would be difficult to undertake this training and keeping balance if I didn’t have support from them.

In the wonderful news of the week, pro triathlete Meredith Kessler announced the birth of their son MAK (Madden Ace Kessler). I am very happy for them, Meredith is a generous supporter of me undertaking this Ironman, for which I am grateful.

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Madden Ace Kessler

This week is Thanksgiving, so I had to move a few things around in the schedule to accommodate. Friday night we will be hosting a large group in our home for a “singing” where we all come together to sing praises to God. It is something we do annually and enjoy hosting. We can get anywhere from 20-60 people. It is no small evening, and one that definitely must stay in the balanced equation of this training life.

Today, I am thankful for Denis and Adam who do so much to help me.

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How Am I Going To Get Ready For This?

Last month, someone asked me how I am going to train for Ironman Texas. There are a number of factors going into training for this event, the chief of which, is time. It begins with a training plan. I will be using a Training Peaks plan from Matt Fitzgerald.  I used a plan from him to train for my 70.3 race, and I liked the way it was laid out. He has as a number of different full Ironman plans, from beginner to elite, so I chose one that is somewhat in the middle and doesn’t consume my entire days training. It will peak at about 20 hours in early April and every 4th week is a recovery week so my body can rest a little. This plan is loaded onto my Training Peaks calendar. While I’ve set my Garmin watch face to only show me distance and time during my work out, the watch itself will collect other information and will download it directly into my calendar. When I complete a workout as planned that box will turn green. If it is only partially met, yellow. If I don’t do it at all, red. The goal here is all green boxes. If you are interested in the nitty gritty details of my workouts you can follow me on Strava, where my watch will download all sorts of metrics.

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The training plan is the base, then there is the question of what time of day am I actually going to get this stuff done? What works best for me is if I get up early and try to finish between 6-10am. Not all days will be like that because life still goes on and I will have other obligations, but most days should fit well into that time slot. Fridays are going to probably be split sessions because of my volunteer job and Saturdays are generally going to be either a long bike ride with Aimee, or a brick (Bike/run back to back). Adam was accepted into the Early College High School program at our local community college and starts in January. At the end of this Fall semester, I am officially no longer a homeschool mom so that will make my schedule more flexible.

Where I am going to train will vary. Swims will take place either at the gym pool or at the THPRD pool which is a 50 meter pool. The majority of biking is going to take place on the trainer in my house. Oregon wet weather isn’t great for biking and I don’t like risking being out on slick roads. If it is dry and not too cold, we’ll head out for a few hours, but indoors at home or on the spin bike at the gym will be where we gain most of our bike fitness. Running will be mostly outdoors, I hope. There will be treadmill workouts, and running on an indoor track, plus, Aimee and I might throw in a Saturday half-marathon race in January just to change things up a bit.

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My equipment for training is pretty basic stuff, goggles, Roka Sim shorts, ankle strap, kick board for swimming. Biking indoors will involve a little more technology. I have a bike trainer with a power meter, so I am able to connect with Zwift and virtually ride with others which is fun. I also use an app called PEAR sports. On it are coached workouts, which I enjoy because it livens things up and keeps my attention. Finally, if I am really going long, I have Netflix, which helps pass the time. Running has the simplest equipment; shoes. I do also use the PEAR app for coached runs from time to time just to keep it interesting. Through training I have access to and support of Team Sirius-Tri Club and the ability to ask questions as I go along, and I have Denis right here in the house to give me advice on training.

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Indoor track, seriously boring run.

The final piece of this is perspective. If I allow the pursuit of this race to consume my life for the next 167 days, then I will have failed at keeping a good life balance. This is a recreational pursuit, a physical challenge that I have chosen to do. I will enjoy it as long as I am blessed with the good health to train for it, but if my family suffers, or I don’t recognize when friends are in need of my attention, or even worse, God is getting less than my best, then toeing the line will not be worth it. I am hoping that the people in my life will keep me in check on this because it is easy to lose perspective.

That’s how I am going to do this. The training plan starts today, with a rest day. I know it will be a challenge and some days will be easier than others. The payoff will be in 24 weeks when I get to celebrate finishing an Ironman and hopefully have Mike Reilly say those craved words everyone wants to hear that day, “You Are An Ironman!”

 

 

Getting Prepped

In one more week, I will being my 24 week training plan to get me to the finish line of Ironman Texas. I have spent the past several weeks preparing by getting all the appointments out of the way that I can. I have had my breast MRI, my dental cleaning and replacement of a couple of worn out fillings, had my flu shot, had my bike tuned, and I switched out the back wheel for the trainer wheel. I put it on the trainer for the winter. I will have my eyes checked this week, and some blood labs done.. Overall, I feel pretty good about beginning the training plan healthy and ready to go. My shoulder seems ready too. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead, lots of miles on the bike with Zwift, lots of running on the indoor track, and many, many laps in the pool.

Today, is Adam’s 16th birthday, another milestone. He was six years old when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. He didn’t understand fully what was going on, but he rolled with it as best he could. He made me smile every day.  While I was in chemo, someone gave him a book that had all sorts of questions to answer and one of them was “Which celebrity does your parent look most like?” His response: Howie Mandel.  I am thankful to be around to help celebrate his birthday. He’s a great young man who loves God. He is affable, smart, and funny. We are proud of the way he is starting to take on manhood and developing skills and habits that will serve him well.

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The Remaining Names

The list of names I am carrying is longer than 31 people, and it keeps growing. To finish out my dedication to these breast cancer survivors and those who have succumbed to the disease I will share the remaining names I have up to date.

If you would like to add any names to this list, please contact me or leave a comment and I will add them.

You may be wondering how I intend to carry these names. Peaks Apparel, a triathlon apparel company, is working on a custom race kit that will have the names on it. I will share photos in April before the race.

Sue Kitchen
Kay Normann
Doris Dungan
Anna Ritko
Kim Naeth
Beth Sugarman
Lisa Young
Cheryl Wilson
Stephanie Grant
Eileen Dahl
Luella Shoup
Sandy Yaniw
Susan Fennell
Terry Ling
Karley Brnusak
Denise Popiel
Becky Newton
Joan Nessling
Gina Maisano
Melanie Smith

Please donate today and help research to continue so there won’t be lists like this in the future.

My Team

Day 31: This is the last day of breast cancer awareness month. The final people I would like to highlight represent the clinicians who not only do research themselves, but are on the front lines of the battle field taking all the research information available to them and deciding what will be best for their breast cancer patients. They are the doctors who face us, and with confidence provide us with the best possible options for treatment. They are the ones who have more than medical knowledge and ability to apply it, but also have just the right qualities to comfort us, and give us hope. Here are the three doctors who made up my team and a little about my first encounter with each of them.

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Dr. Laurel Soot: Dr. Soot was the first of the three, the surgeon recommended by my gynecologist the day that I was diagnosed. Her office scheduled me in right away, but warned me that she was double booked and we would probably have to wait. I didn’t care, I had made the call on a Friday, and she was seeing me on Monday. That’s pretty quick in my book. Denis and I ended up being the very last people at the end of the day to see her, and my thoughts were that it would end up being 15 minutes and she would show us the door because it was late. Not only did Dr. Soot spend an hour with us, she thoroughly explained breast cancer, what my diagnosis meant, what my options were, and answered every question until we felt confident we could move on to the next set of decisions. Having that initial contact experience with her gave me relief that I was in good hands regarding my surgery no matter what I decided to do. My surgery was successful and I am grateful for that. Dr. Soot no longer practices as a surgeon so that she can have more time to be available for her children, but she does remain active in advising and advocating for women’s healthcare insurance coverage, a credit to her dedication to helping women survive breast cancer.

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Dr. Christine Cha: Dr. Cha was not originally supposed to be my radiation oncologist. She happened to be filling in for a colleague who was on maternity leave. The first thing I noticed about Dr. Cha was her smile as she greeted us. She was warm and personable. What made me feel comfortable with her was something small. The nurse had forgotten to take my blood pressure, so she decided to do it. She fumbled around with the blood pressure cuff and had to take a couple of tries at it. Her comment was that it is something radiation oncologists don’t do much, and it was good to brush up on her skills. Right then, I knew she was going to be a great fit as my doctor because there was no pretense, or arrogance, she was real. She gave me the best treatment available and it went well. Dr. Cha is very intelligent and has great compassion for her patients and specifically a passion for helping women with breast cancer. If you are a reader of this blog, you know that we occasionally go on bike rides together. I am privileged to have her has a friend who shares the common interest of triathlon.

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Dr. Lucy Langer: Dr. Langer is my oncologist. Meeting her for the first time was pretty scary in the sense that I had enough information to know the type of breast cancer I had was aggressive, but not enough information yet to know if I was going to survive it. Denis and I were very nervous, but in walked Dr. Langer and the first words out of her mouth were “Nice to meet you Mr. and Mrs. Desloge.” Why was that a big deal? She pronounced our name perfectly! That is hardly ever done and made enough of an impact that she got our attention right away as a person who might just know what she is doing. After spending over an hour talking about my treatment options, Denis and I left feeling like we could trust her and what she recommended. The treatment wasn’t easy, but went well and obviously, I have survived and am thriving. She has now been my oncologist for nearly 10 years, and has answered every question, been diligent about my surveillance for recurrence, and has generally just been a delightful person to know. She even helped out our son, David, when he had to prepare for a scholarship interview, by meeting with him one Sunday afternoon on her day off. How generous and cool is that?  I am grateful to Dr. Langer for the care she has provided me over the years.

Each of these doctors did just one small thing upon our meeting that made a huge difference in the way I felt about beating cancer. I am confident that I am not the only one of their patients who has experienced this. Besides being brilliant at understanding the medical knowledge to perform their jobs, they all exhibit the qualities that doctors should have to make their patients feel like they are in good hands. Even though none of them are breast cancer survivors, they will be among the honored on my list as I race.

Please donate today, to help research continue, to help clinicians have the most up to date information they need to treat patients, and to help women and men survive breast cancer. Thanks for reading along this month and supporting this effort. I hope you will continue to follow my journey to Ironman Texas.

 

 

Jeannie Cadle

Day 30: There is no photograph of Jeannie Cadle because she represents those people going through cancer treatment who are unnoticed and have few to no people in their support system. Once a week, I am a volunteer driver for the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program, which offers cancer patients transportation to their treatment and cancer related appointments. This is how I met Jeannie, and with her permission, added her to my list. During my cancer treatment, I was blessed with dozens of supportive friends and family who would take care of any need at the drop of a hat. There are many people going through cancer treatment who do not have even a few people to stand by them. This post today is going to divert from asking for donations, to asking of your time. Please consider volunteering in your local area to help support cancer patients. There are many ways this can be done and by checking with your local American Cancer Society chapter or other cancer support groups, you may find a way that fits your schedule and your life, and benefits people at a critical time in their lives.

Julia Nessling

Day 29: Julia Nessling is an 8 year survivor of DCIS breast cancer. She is a member of the Team Sirius Tri Club and has recently completed her first Ironman 70.3 race in Arizona. She shared a little bit of her breast cancer story with me:

At the age of 42 I’m at a funeral of a family friend that had just died from breast cancer, waiting to see if my recent biopsy was cancerous. A few weeks prior calcium deposits were found during a routine mammogram. I received that dreaded call from my doctor “we found cancer”. I was devastated, not knowing if it had spread or how bad it was. A week later I got the good news that it had not spread. The bad news, I had to have either a lumpectomy with radiation or a mastectomy, I had ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) I opted for the mastectomy, an easy decision for me. After the surgery the surgeon said I had made the right decision as there was a lot more cancer than initially thought. Thankfully, it was not in my lymph nodes. Even though I feel that I got off easy, as I did not need radiation or chemo, I still had a long road to recovery, it really did a number on me mentally especially because after my surgery my dad was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus, he would die 8 months later. I have now been cancer free for 8 years! Cancer did push me to do what I thought was impossible, I jus finished my first 70.3 Ironman…unbelievable. I know that If I had not been diagnosed with cancer I would not have ever pushed myself to do something so amazing.

About 1 in 5 breast cancer diagnoses are DCIS, a non-invasive, early stage cancer. The prognosis for this type of breast cancer is very good, but making the choice between lumpectomy or mastectomy can be very difficult for some women, especially if the choice is not always obvious. Please donate today for research to continue so that being diagnosed at earlier stages will have better treatment options and honor Julia in her 8 year survivorship and her strength to push beyond her limits.

Karen Sandberg

Day 28: Karen Sandberg is a 6 year survivor! She is our sweet and generous next door neighbor. Diagnosed in 2011, Karen and her sisters are no strangers to breast cancer. Her sister, Sue, was diagnosed in 2000 and is a 17 year survivor, and her twin sister, Kay, was diagnosed in 2013 and is a 4 year survivor, she did not test positive for the BRCA genes. Karen is active where she attends church, likes to quilt, golf, and travel with her husband, Jim. We have been thankful to have them as neighbors as our children grew up, knowing they had somewhere to go if they ever needed immediate help when we were not at home.

Throughout the month, I have highlighted a few mother/daughter or sister pairs, yet none of them have tested positive for the BRCA genes. This continues to emphasize that only a fraction of breast cancer diagnoses are hereditary. There are good reasons to have genetic testing done, but every woman should be diligent about going in for her screening mammograms. Early detection is the key to survival. This means finding the cancer before it is large or has spread to lymph nodes. Karen and her sisters are survivors and are thriving in life. Please donate today to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to help continue the fight against this disease and honor Karen, Kay, and Sue.

 

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Jim and Karen in the Czech Republic

Jane Admire

Day 27: Jane Admire was the mom of a family we met in 1972 and grew up with for 12 years. They were a family with 5 kids; Chuck, Greg, John, Connie, and David. Chuck and my brother, Marc, became good friends, and John, Greg, and I ended up going through all 12 years of school together. My clearest memory of her is at the baseball games. Chuck and Marc were always on the same team. Mrs. Admire would sit in the stands and cheer so loud that we could hear her when we went to play at the playground far away from the field. We always knew it was her,”Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!” But, that wasn’t the best part. Mrs. Admire was probably the only mom who could get away with running out on the field and greeting her son at home plate with a big kiss every time he hit a home run ( he hit a lot of home runs). I think most boys would cringe from embarrassment at the thought, but her pure delight in each and every home run hit, and her genuine earnestness in her enthusiasm for the boys made it seem like it was just something that was part of the game. John shared with me, her breast cancer story:

My dad died in 2002 and my mom spent her time waiting to go see him. She was depressed and lonely. Just before Christmas in 2005 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had initially decided not to seek treatment, but my brother’s ex-wife helped convince her that if she didn’t take well to the treatment she could quit at anytime. She did marvelously.

It was an interesting thing, at some point during the treatment she realized that her kids, daughter in-laws, and the 13 grandchildren were worth fighting for, and that she would be with her husband soon enough. During and after the first round of cancer she became more active and engaged in life than she had been in a long time.

The cancer came back at the end of 2010 and her only reaction was, “Cancer? I know what that is, bring it on.” And she fought fiercely, and bravely. By the end of April 2012, despite the doctor’s best efforts, the cancer had spread from her breasts to the rest of her body. In the end she was surrounded by all of her children, grandchildren, and friends. I don’t think the nurses at the cancer wing at Riverbend had ever seen anything like it, especially when we sang the Duck Fight Song, just after she passed away.

It is a funny thing, and I have said this before, cancer saved my mom’s life. Oh, it took her in the end, but if she would have never got it, I am not sure that she would have been as fully engaged in life as she was in the last 5 years of her life. She took the second chance that she was given, and did the best she could with it.

The lifetime risk of breast cancer  after age of 60 is 1 in 28 and after age 70 is 1 in 26. Approximately 20% of women between the ages of 65-84 diagnosed with breast cancer died from it between 2009 and 2013. It is often thought of as an old woman disease, but it can affect anyone. The overall lifetime risk is 1 in 8 women and 1 in 1000 men. Please donate today and help researchers to improve survival rates so that second chances at life can last longer and honor the memory of Jane Admire.

Gail Van Deinse-Lund

Day 26: Gail Van Deinse-Lund is a survivor of many years, sister to yesterday’s honoree, Sheila Van Deinse, and another high school friend. She is a proud mom of two,  grandmother of two, and adores her family. Gail has had some difficult struggles with her battle against breast cancer, but has turned them into something positive in the advocacy for continuing research. Here is her story:

At 31 years old I found my first lump in my right breast. Since then I have had 26 chest operations to remove tumors and have reconstruction done. Because breast cancer is prevalent in our family this was not something I wanted to mess with. Most of our family has been tested for the BRCA genes and none of us have them. Yet, multiple women in our family have been diagnosed with breast cancer. After finding my way out of the fog of surgeries and tests I moved through life until November of 2009 when the US Preventative Taskforce came out with new guidelines regarding mammograms stating that if you were 50 years old or younger there was not a reason to have a mammogram done. Insurance companies were going to start denying payment for mammograms and the possibility of cancer being found in later stages could cost more women their lives! After spending all day on the phone calling Government offices about this ridiculousness, I received a phone call from one of our Senators and we spoke for 45 minutes regarding the problems associated with this new finding. I also found that millions of women were as angry about this as I was. Senator Murray suggested I reach out to The American Cancer Society. I did just that and I became the Ambassador of the 9th Congressional District, which I still am to this day. Through The American Cancer Society I was also nominated for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Peer Review Committee where I have the honor of working with Doctors and scientists from all over the world hoping to help find a cure for Breast Cancer. Our grandmother, herself a breast cancer survivor, once said “It’s not how you came into this world or leave it…It’s what you do in between that counts” That’s what I am trying to do; make it count.

I am thankful for people like Gail who take their adversity with breast cancer and turn it into something that will have a lasting impact on those who in the future will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It is an honor to share her efforts to help in the advancement of research and carry her name while I race. Just this week, the U.S. Mint unveiled a new commemorative coin for breast cancer awareness that will be available in 2018. The sale of these coins will raise money specifically dedicated to breast cancer research funded through the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  You don’t have to wait for the coin to be available to help today.  Donate to my fundraising campaign and honor Gail in her survivorship and her work to help other women survive.

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Gail, with her sister Sheila.