Friday, May 22, 2009

Walk Before You Run

It's a simple concept, start out slow and then taper or easy followed by hard but without straining. With running on the brain lately it becomes walk before you can run and since the doctor has forbidden running for at least 4-6 weeks then walking will just have to do.

My 'recovery' is coming along nicely with the staples removed one week ago and now I just need some more time for the wound to fully heal. The nurse says it's being a bit stubborn (just like me) but it will be fine. The main other issue is with the bother of the catheter which needs to stay in for 3 weeks so that the urethra (which was cut) can heal. It doesn't hurt but is a real pain in the butt at times, mostly when trying to sleep and not being able to roll over etc.

Have I been bored with all the free time and not being able to run or exercise? No, at all because there doesn't seem to be enough time in the day to do the things I'd like to do. I've been reading, on the computer a lot, now doing the Twitter thing which is fun, watching TV with hockey and basketball playoffs, and just generally taking it easy and enjoying it. There are also the requisite afternoon naps (would you believe) that I really need because I do tire easily and tend to wear down after mid-day. Nothing like a little 1.5hr 'Power-nap' to fix me up for a long evening of sports playoffs!

As far as the walking thing I started on Monday with 1 mile on the treadmill in 20 minutes (3mph) and have worked up to 2 miles today (Friday) in 37:30 for a total of 7.5 miles thus far. It's a very gentle walking speed, feels great and goes by very quickly while watching the morning news. I'll just keep slowly increasing the time and distance for the next few weeks until I get the clearance to begin some easy running. Can't wait ;-)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Not for the faint of heart

I'm not sure how to start this...
I'm about to reveal a very personal story of what has been happening to me over the last week or so. This is not a running story but rather a tale of my recent medical treatment and is aimed directly at my family and my two sons in particular. Part of the reason that I keep up my blog is because I know that my 3 children (who are all away from home) as well as friends and relatives read it and it helps them to keep up with my goings on. It's also fun to share my little running adventures with my many (10?) other readers most of whom I've never met and probably won't (but would like to).

The short story:
I have/had prostate cancer. It was diagnosed early and I underwent major surgery (radical prostatectomy) on May 8 that was intended to remove all of the cancer. I say 'had' cancer but you never know for sure and only time will tell. My wonderful surgeon Dr. Scott Bagnell was very positive about the outcome and that's all we can say right now but no further treatment is planned (radiation/chemo). I am now home resting comfortably in recovery with a minimum of 6 weeks with no lifting of more than 5 lb (2 kg) and no running. I'm walking around, feeling stronger every day (it felt like getting run over) and have some expected soreness and tiredness but otherwise am feeling great.

The longer story:
Prostate cancer is very common in my close family with my grandfather (age 72), father (age 71 ) and several uncles on my father's side dying as a result of it in their 60's and 70's+. I also have one cousin on my mothers side who went through the same thing as me at the same age (early 50ies). As a result, I have been proactive with my health by having annual physicals which include prostate exams and blood tests for my PSA levels since I was 45. The result from my blood test last fall showed that my PSA level had increased steeply over the previous year from 2.3 to 3.2 although it was still in the normal range of 0-4 for my age. Because of my family history a followup with the urologist was scheduled with a consult on Dec. 26 and a biopsy on Jan. 20th.

On Feb. 6, 2009 I received the diagnosis of prostate cancer with a Gleason Grade of 6/10 at stage T2 - indicating early diagnosis with apparent confinement to the prostate organ alone.

On Feb. 8, after having a few days to absorb the news Joanne and I again met with Dr. Bagnell to discuss treatment options and timing. Since the cancer was caught early at stage T2 the surgery option was considered the best but because this appeared to be a slow growing form of cancer there was no immediate urgency. My only concern (after realizing I wasn't getting a death sentence) was whether I could run Boston in just 10 weeks. While Jo was not very keen on this idea the doctor allowed that it was not an unreasonable thing to do given all the variables but still no guarantee of course. However, the surgery needed to be scheduled ASAP after Boston with a few weeks of rest from the race.

On April 2oth, I ran my 10th Boston in a time of 3:33 and had a blast!

Two weeks later on Friday, May 8th I had nerve sparing prostate surgery and things went extremely well and I wasn't even nervous! [joke for A]. There were no complications and I don't remember a thing for the 2.5 hours. Some surrounding lymph nodes were also removed for testing to ensure the cancer had not spread but these results won't be known for several weeks.
  • This surgery is a one-time procedure.
  • As the whole prostate is removed, it potentially removes all cancer cells.
  • The operation has a long history of use, and many surgeons and medical centres specialize in the technique.
  • Follow-up procedures are well established, and the results of the surgery are relatively easy to monitor through PSA testing.
  • If cancer is left behind, other localized treatments, such as radiation, are available.
  • Many specialists believe that the radical prostatectomy offers the best chance of long-term survival for a man with localized prostate cancer.
I was released from the hospital on Monday (3 days later) and am now home resting comfortably for awhile with lots of time on my hands.

The not for the faint of heart part:
I even took some pictures of my scar for posterity because I like to take pictures of just about everything but am reluctant to scare/shock you with the image directly here on my blog. Instead if you'd like to see the damage done to me you can see it by clicking here. Be warned if you have an aversion to such things but I thought it was a rather nice scar. The nurses seem to like the workmanship. It's healing very nicely and the staples come out tomorrow and I'm not looking forward to the home care nurse ripping off the clear protective bandage for a 3rd time. Ouch!!

I'm running out of steam on this 1st post but want to remind the guys out there and the gals with guys to remind them to get PSA tested once you reach the 40's and 50's depending on your family history. It's just a blood test and then you have a baseline to compare it to in coming years. Talk to your doctor and be proactive about your health. I was and I'm glad I was!

Time for a little nap now, still recovering and I get tired easily. They say this will take several months but it's only been 6 days so far. Thanks for listening and have a nice week!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Rest and recovery

Has it really only been 2 weeks? It seems like a year ago already but I think the legs still beg to differ. The recovery has gone nicely with a bunch of rest days and some easy running mixed in as shown in my workouts sidebar. Boston has now scrolled off the display and the 5 recovery runs are there if you dare to look (but you need to be really bored to go there)!
The most interesting run was my Sunday jaunt with Andrew which he so nicely describes in his post. It was a perfect cool spring morning for a run in the park on the deserted roads and trails of Moosehorn Refuge with barely a warden in sight. He complained about my moving too fast during the run but certainly didn't waste any time getting home and describing our little incident with the Forest Patrol. I'd completely wiped from my memory thinking it was not of consequence but apparently her pointed questions hit a nerve with Andrew.
This was the subject of her interest, my new Honda Accord, due to the lack of a proper Canadian licence plate and only a temporary permit. I had checked at both the Canada and USA customs when crossing the border and so was not too concerned about it. Maybe Andrew liked her gun! Afterwards we hit the Dunkin Donuts for some heartstopping fare including breakfast bagels and strawberry danish. Mmmm, Thomas would have loved it!

Plan for this week is more of the same. Easy running, more rest and more recovery, at least as much as my body will allow. For whatever reason, every time I lace up the shoes the pace just seems to ramp up. I can't just jog along really slowly because it feels better to pick up the turnover and just roll along. Ah well, I'll enjoy it while it lasts because I just love to run ;-)

Take care and have a nice week!