Monday, July 25, 2005

How sweet it is ...

to be loved by you!

I close my eyes at night
Wondering where would I be without you in my life
Everything I did was just a bore
Everywhere I went it seems I’d been there before
But you brighten up for me all of my days
With a love so sweet in so many ways
I want to stop and thank you baby
I just want to stop and thank you baby

How sweet it is to be loved by you!!!

Jim took me to see James Taylor this weekend as an early Birthday present! (My Birthday is Tuesday, July 26th, hehehe) We had a great time and Mr. Taylor played my favorite songs .... "Carolina on My Mind" and "How Sweet it Is". I told Jim that this was a birthday gift not to be beaten and he reminded me that not much could top last year's "34th Birthday in Paris, France." While it is indeed hard to top that, in light of the year we have been having, this year's gift definately compares.

I didn't get much of a workout in this weekend. A short 2.5 mile walk on Sunday to my friend Liz's place. She took me out to lunch for my Birthday at the Potowmack Landing Restaraunt. (I did spell the name correctly - I think it is an Indian spelling) We had lovely Crabcake sandwiches and watched the ducks and sailboats meandering by. It was lovely.

All in all it should continue to be a wonderful week. My new running shoes are in and I am going to spend the weekend with my friend Nancy's beach house in St. Michaels. She has invited a small group of fellow triathletes and it will be awesome to meet the other women in person finally. I am going to work hard to be the resident cheerleader, director of "taper" miles for the ladies who are racing this weekend and keeper of the Toby Twins (at least during the dualthon).

Not too shabby a week in store!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

There is a light at the end of the tunnel...

and it is not another train! That is the great expression my co-worker L. used today when she referred to my current state of things. I had just been telling her that for the first time in week, I actually feel like I leave work having accomplished something at the end of my day. I have been working about 6 hours a day for the past 3 weeks and my adjustment has been slow but steady. I hope to be back to full time by summer's end but it is slow going.

L.'s very enlightening (and witty) comment also gave me a moment to stop and realize just how far I have come since all of this started in February. It hasn't been easy but none of it has been impossible either. I'll take that as a blessing. So far, I have been able to handle it all, with the love, support and encouragement of Jim, my family, and the huge network of friends I am so lucky to have at home, work, across the country and across the internet.

My blood counts were dropping on Tuesday's check. Looks like I might get a day or two off from shots next week if the trend continues. A break in shots might give me a chance to recover a little more from the latest round of fatigue. And that could mean some quality workouts on the horizon!!

ENDORPHINS!! I miss them! I tried to find them today at the gym for about 25 minutes. No luck though, they just barely eluded me. If my new sneakers come in this weekend ( - last year's model on sale!!!) then I will go out on the trails and continue to look for more endorphins. I know there are some out there for me!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Hanging in there ...

I don't have much enthusiasm lately but I am still trying to find it wherever I can. This lack of enthusiasm is definately the Interferon. Drugs are stupid but more Cancer is not an option, so I will take the drugs.

Jim's back is much better and he has been going to the physical therapist to strengthen it up and make sure the disc returns back to it's normal spot. He went to Dr. Wagner and he said that the hernia was small, "Come back in a month and let me check it again." Dr. Wagner feels that urgery can wait for now. I know Jim is doing better because he has been back on the bike and the BMW motorcyle this week. He would do that unless he was pain free!

The weekend was a bit of a wash in terms of a long run. Friday I had energy for naps only and Saturday I SLUGGED through 3 miles of run/walk intervals. By the time Sunday bloomed hot and humid, I had opted for a short walk. The hightlight of the weekend was having friends over for an tiny "Tour de France - Stage 17" get-together. That was great fun!

I'm feeling funky today and trying to add an extra hour to the work day. So far, it's a little harder than I thought it might be. Still it's better than being on high-dose and I am 2 weeks down with only 46 to go!

Living STRONG but a little sleepy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


It's been a heck of a week and it is only Wednesday. I have been feeling quite insane and while I could attribute some of it to the Interferon, there were side effects that were making NO SENSE that I could not handle. There are some things that take me quickly to the edge, WEIGHT GAIN is one of those things.

I gained a few pounds on vacation. I knew that. About 5 to be exact. I can deal with that. What I can't deal with is the additional 4 pounds that I seem to have gained in the last 2 weeks! That is INSANE!! Every other day over the last 2 weeks my scale has registered another pound gained. AHHHHH!!!!!!!!

The kicker is that my activity level is up from vacation and my eating is down. Do the math and I should be settling back to my pre-vacation weight. SO WHY AM I GAINING???????

What has changed? CELEBREX!

While my headaches are gone and my knees ache less, I am gaining weight rapidly. It is likely just water retention OR weight gain, both less common side effects of the drug. The real issue for me is that emotionally, I can't take that side effect in stride. My weight is tied into too many other triggers in my life. Most especially depression.

I can't even begin to tell you what a relief it was to find a factor I could control. No Celebex, no weight gain. I am going to try going back to Aleve for a few days and see if:

1. The weight starts coming off
2. The headaches start again.

Then I will call Dr. Butler and see what he recommends. I need to find a pain management solution that doesn't throw me into manic depression and gaining a significant amount of weight will defiantely do that ...just ask my therapist.

Running is going well! I ran/walked 3 miles on Saturday, 5 miles on Sunday, took Monday off and covered 2.5 miles yesterday. Other than some fatigue and a little knee pain post run (for which ICE seems to be working well) I am happy to be logging 10+ miles a week. So what it some of it is walking, it sure beats doing nothing!

Hope everybody is living STRONG this week!

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: Wonderful penguin image borrowed from Runner's World Magazine go and check it out!!)

Friday, July 08, 2005

It's like playing the "side effects" lottery ...

But you don't get a big fat check .. unless you are a Dr....

It's not so hard to find humor in chemotherapy. They give you a list of the numerous possible side effects and then it is up to you to figure out, based on your wacky body reactions, which ones you have. Welcome to the "side effects" lottery. Holly's drawings are on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights. What will she win this week??? Let's poke her thigh with a needle and see what comes up, shall we?

Yesterday after a week of Insurance DRAMA, I got my new Intron-A pens. They are quite functional and the needle is small. So far I like it. In terms of giving yourself a shot, it's convenient and simple. Not cheap but simple in design and function much like good art deco furniture.

It's also very concentrated. .2 mls delivers 10 MIU - Now that will pack a punch!

Unlike the last 2 shots; I felt the shot right away. Today my brain is muddy and I have come across a new side effect. I have to confess, I don't like this "new" side effect much. My knees are sore. Not achey but SORE. Sore like I ran a 1/2 Marathon in bad running shoes. I guess this is the possible "joint pain" that they list on the little "info pack".

OR my running sneakers are wearing out....Not likely though since I have not yet gotten more than 2 miles of running in this week and the last run was on Wednesday. I have done a lot of walking this week but not nearly enough running.

Still I am not too discouraged yet. I have not yet tested to see if this pain effects my running or exercise and I have a great coach with plenty of good ideas. I also have access to a pool ... can I say " Water jogging" ... Yes I can!

Hope everybody has a WONDERFUL weekend!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

A little perspective

It only takes a moment in time to remind you that things are not as bad as they seem. I know, first hand, as many American's do, how desperate, shocking and demoralized you feel in the days following a terrorist attack. I'd choose go through chemo many times over again before I would ever choose to feel the way I did on September 11, 2001 with Jim working at the Pentagon.

My prayers and heart-felt wishes go out to those in London affected by the terrorist attacks.


I also wanted to send a giant WELCOME to Jackson Scott Cosker who arrived into the world on July 1st at 6:46 pm.

He is a big boy at at 9 lbs, 6 ozs and took his sweet time getting here. My poor girlfriend Theresa had to be induced. I guess Jack was enjoying the warm water...hmmm perhaps we have a new "Michael Phelps" in the making.

May your every dream and wish come true in your lifetime Jack!

Mommy, Jack and big sister Addison

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


We interupt this blogcast to take a moment to acknowlege how STUPID my health insurance company is ...

WICKED STUPID!!! (as they say up in Northern New England)

For the past 48 hours I have been caught up in the endless loop of "pre-approval" hell to fill my RX for the self-injecting pens of Intron-A which I need 3x a week for the next 47 weeks. I asked my Dr. office BEFORE treatment of high-dose started, to make sure I was pre-approved for Interferon.

I imagine I was or they would not have been able to start the high-dose chemo.

I imagine I was or the insurance company would not have already started sending checks to my Dr. covering my high-dose treatment.

Apprently I am mistaken. Suddenly the insurance company is not aware of my present need for Intron-A.

I have been diagnosed for 5 months!
I have had 2 surgerys, which they covered!
I have had 4 weeks of chemo, which they are covering!


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Tag - IPod Mini style

Oldman tagged me to list my top six favorite songs. I like too many different types of music to narrow it down to six so I figured that I would list the top six most played songs on my IPod Mini.

Holly's Top Six Workout Songs:

Burning down the House - Talking Heads
Dirty - Christina Aguilera
Carry On Wayward Son - Kansas
Get Ur Freak On - Missy Elliot
Right Now - Van Halen
Smooth - Santana (with Rob Thomas)

I am now going to reverse the tag and ask Oldman and Nancy and Flatman and Linae to share one song they love without shame. You know what I mean .... that one song that everybody else complains about that you love in spite of the mocking you may receive from others.

Mine is: Doing da BUTT - EU (Experience Unlimited)

Sounds crazy but I am not the only one who likes it! It has been rated as one of the top 200 most requested songs by Wedding DJs. I knew in my heart I wasn't the only one who loved this song!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Bunnies, Politicians and Fevers, Oh my...

Round up of the last 3 days ....

Friday afternoon was the first low-dose Interferon shot. 10 MIU (million units) and I was able to give myself the shot! Didn't feel much just a pinch and a sting and I was done! I need to get savvy on my Tylenol dosage on shot days though. I confess that I got caught up in the TV Land showing of the movie "Sybil" with Sally Fields and missed my second dose by an hour. The results were a 103 fever and some chills. I've already set my Timex Ironman watch's 3 alarms to remind me to take my Tylenol on time on Tuesday.

Saturday: Went for a run/walk of 3 miles using Coach Debi'splanned intervals of 1/1. I was able to keep up the intervals the entire time and average 13:30 minute/miles. On my run on the trails through North Arlington I saw 2 Bunny rabbits and immediately thought of Oldman who has tagged me to list my favorite songs. I am still composing my list ....

I also could have sworn that I saw Donald Rumsfeld on a bike on the trail. I thought through the logic as I tried to pay attention for the beeps that indicated that is was time to walk and/or run again. This man had nobody following him and I had a hard time imagining that the current Secretary of Defense could get away for a bike ride without at least one secret service agent at his side. Still the likeness was a little creepy. On the turnaround, the cyclist came back by me and I got another look and it was not Mr. Rumsfeld but I bet that guy gets a lot of "You know you look familiar" comments.

Sunday: LONG RUN!!! At least longer than anything I have done in over 8 weeks. I did 62 minutes on the Mt. Vernon Trail along the Potomac in Alexandria and covered just under 5 miles, probably around 4.75. I was consistently run/waling (1/1) 13:15 minute/miles and I had a negative split of over 6 seconds on the last mile with a 13:09! WOOOHOOO!!! Looks like the plan that Coach Debi has set up for me is working well! Onto 2/1 intervals this week and getting back in the pool and on the bike a little as well !

Living STRONG and looking in my IPOD Mini to see what my top 25 songs have been lately....

Friday, July 01, 2005

Time Trial ...

or as they say in France: Contre La Montre (Race of Truth).

Today was a chance to get in an early morning (5:45AM) run and see just where I am at. The trail near my home has mile markers and "rolls" down hill with a large hill to descend at the start and a small hill in the middle on the way out and as you would imagine, roll uphill on the way back. So I knew my first mile would be fast and my second mile would be pathetic.

I figured that if I averaged those 2 splits, I might get a moderate "pace" indicator to start with.

Holly's 40 Minute Workout (2.5 miles) - 3/1 Run/Walk Intervals
Walked 5 minutes
Mile 1 – 12:22 (good effort – kind of TT to see what I had)
Mile 2 – 15.08 (I had to walk a little more between run intervals ...)
Cool down – 6 minute walk
My guess is that if I can settle into a grhythmthum, right now I could probably run/walk 13:30 miles. That's not a bad goal for the Army 10 Miler and the Marine Corps. Of course I have to start running more than 2 miles .... but that's just a minor detail really .... HE HE HE


You can follow it on OLN or you can follow it online at The Paceline Lance Armstrong's Official Fan Website.

It's going to be a great Tour no matter the outcome ... and although I won't actually be there in person to watch is this year, you can bet I will be GLUED to the TIVO for 2 hours every day!