Monday, August 5, 2013

The power of visualization, a minor setback, and LOTS of happy moments!

Today, as I sprinted my townie bike up the hill to Huntsman for my afternoon acupuncture appointment that I was running late for, I truly felt grateful.  Grateful for how well my body has tolerated this first round of treatment.  Grateful for my amazing husband who dedicates so much time to keeping me happy and healthy.  Grateful for my super fun friends who are great company whether we're doing epic mountain bike rides or rallying the skills park.  Grateful for the friends whose little gestures mean so much.  Grateful for the the team (both medical and complementary) that I have put together to support me through my treatment.  Grateful that I am able to maintain employment as I undergo treatment.  Grateful for my silly puppy, Dizzy, who is a great trail running and sleeping partner. But at that moment, I was soooo grateful that I could sprint that townie bike up that hill.  During that sprint, despite Huntsman being my destination, I didn't feel like a cancer patient.  I felt like myself: healthy, strong, fit, covered in sweat, and happy.  I have learned that when the going gets tough, and it does get tough, to visualize these happy moments.  It really is quite powerful.  

Anyhow, Week Three started with a little setback.  I developed a toothache and some mouth sores. Perhaps it was because I didn't follow my own recommendation and brush my teeth after all meals/snacks (in my defense this is difficult to do when you spend the day riding lifts and demo-ing enduro bikes:), perhaps it was something I ate, or perhaps it was unavoidable.  Regardless, it was bothersome enough to affect my sleep which makes me a wee bit cranky.  I finally resorted to getting a prescription for some magic mouthwash, but fortunately after a few days it resolved on its own.  

Despite this setback, my week was LOADED with happy moments.  

Tons of mountain bike rides with friends:

Trail running with Dizzy:

acupuncture, relaxation, a visit from Mom, baking:

(Gluten free, pumpkin, protein cookies)

and V02 max testing.  Yes, you read that correctly, V02 max testing.  I find that hilarious on so many levels.  First, I am undergoing chemo, am probably somewhat anemic, and definitely somewhat immunosupressed.  Not exactly the ideal time to measure my "true" V02 max.  Second, it was done (running) on a treadmill, and while I have been dabbling in trail running, I am NOT a runner!  However, Huntsman offers free fitness assessments, it will be interesting to track physiologic changes to my body as I undergo treatment, I am always game for some exercise induced suffering, and it is required in order to utilize Huntsman's really nice gym.  Since I seem to be at Huntsman all of the time and that is not going to change anytime soon, I really want to use their gym, especially when I am trying to kill time between appointments.  Anyhow, I don't have the results yet, but I do know that I was pretty efficient at threshold, my heartrate got up into the 180s (which is consistent with my typical max heartrate), and I didn't feel like I was going into cardiac arrest!  Plus, the fitness staff was a hoot and despite having to run as hard as I could up a ~20% grade, I had a really good time!  

In other news of the week, George Washington University's breast center featured me in their August newsletter.  I am flattered, honored and quite honestly speechless that they found my story worthy of their August inspiration.  The author of the story told me that I inspired her to train and compete in CrossFit regionals.  I love that through my blog I am able to inspire people with cancer to be healthy and exercise.  It is just as profound to me to inspire those who don't have cancer.  

Here is the story:

And, my weekly workout log:

Total workout time:
Easy road spin/leg/core workout
Rode up Emigration.  Mouth sores flare-up
Super fun MTB
Great ride with one of my favorite people!  Mouth sores flare-up
Townie ride for errands/V02 max testing at Huntsman
V02 max and fitness testing at Huntsman on treadmill!  Mouth sores improving
Skills ride at Trailside bike park
Fun ride with great company. Felt good.
Mountain Bike Ride
MTB in Park City.  Note: need to pack more food than normal for longer rides.  Rode w/ Shannon. Mouth good. 
Mountain Bike Ride
MTB in Park City.  Another fun girl ride!
Trail run/Skills ride on dirt jumper
Felt good today.  Acupuncture in prep for treatment #2 tomorrow. 

Total hours:

Lesson of the week:  It appears as though my body requires more calories than normal when exercising, especially when exercising at moderate intensity.  Perhaps this is because my body is working extra hard with cellular regeneration after chemo???  Regardless, I got a little bonky on my AWESOME Saturday mountain bike ride and had to borrow some calories from Shannon.

Tomorrow is chemo #2.  When the going gets tough this week, and I know it will, I have lots of happy moments to visualize.  That and NadaMoo dairy free ice cream.  For this I am also grateful.

More photos of the week here.


  1. Hey there bad ass! Yo betta bring those GF cookies for our next ride :)
    Totally awesome

    1. Yes. I will bring the cookies. You bring the awesomeness!

  2. Bananas, lots of bananas. I also liked to watch Despicable Me waaaaay too much when I was in chemo (so people give me minions etc. because I have a strange obsession). I hope you are starting to feel on the upside of the down. You are halfway there!

    What an awesome article! I had no idea Huntsman had a nice fitness center, I guess I never explored quite enough. :)

    1. I believe the fancy fitness center is new! They do now have acupuncture and the infusion room (although it makes me want to vomit) is quite nice:)

  3. Hi Jen! You are so amazing!! I was diagnosed 4 months ago right before my 36th birthday (I have certainly never been as fit as you are, but I have been physically active and careful about my health.....). I am going through chemo now too. So great to read about your experience. I have a hard time doing more than 20-30 min walks the week after the infusion.

    1. That first week is always rough! 20-30 minutes is great! Good luck with treatment, staying active and healthy! Jen.