Women Overcome More than Breast Cancer

This post has been a long time coming.  I am a bit tired of the pinking which occurs in response to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Earlier this month, I saw this tweet which really spoke to me.

 In addition to DVAM it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Watch Pink Ribbons Inc & stop buying pink stuff #rethinkpink pic.twitter.com/vEqXXFCuTm — Lauren Chief Elk (@ChiefElk) October 6, 2013

Not that there aren’t organizations out there which work hard to provide research support for breast cancer as well as those who provide support for women who are undergoing breast cancer treatment and their families.  But, there are so many products out there which appear pink-washed this month that aren’t actually associated with anything except profits.

Because of that, I felt that I should make you aware of some of the reasons why women get hysterectomies and organizations which support them.

endometriosis ribbonteal_ribbon_of_words_zip_hoodie_dark

Endometriosis – this occurs when the endometrium grows outside of the uterus. Consider a donation to the Endometriosis Association which spends 88% of their operating budget in support of research, education, and support for effected women.

Ovarian Cancer – Consider donations to the Teal Ribbon Ovarian Cancer Foundation OR the Henrietta Lacks Foundation.

Uterine Fibroids – This is what I suffered with.  Tumors that ranged in size from apple seeds to grapefruits.  Young African American women suffer the most from this according to a report in the Journal of Women’s Health discussed in today’s Huffington Post.   As an African American woman and a fibroid sufferer, my money goes to the Henrietta Lacks Foundation.

I say all this to say that women are overcomers of so much more than breast cancer.  So on this Faith and Fitness Friday, I leave you with the following song which reminds me of how far I have come because of my faith in my recovery.

One Year as a Hysterrunner

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

On September 20, 2012, one year ago today, I entered the hospital for a total abdominal hysterectomy.  I was nervous and scared to undergo the surgery.  I prayed to God that everything would be ok.  I am thankful that the tumors they found were benign.

After four weeks of primarily bed rest, I was able to start walking.  One of my walks was to cheer people on at the Baltimore Running Festival.  I was so exhausted afterwards that I couldn’t even get out of bed the next day.  On days like that I wondered if I really would be able to come back to running again.

One year later, I can definitely say that “with God all things are possible.”  I have not only come back to running but I am a full fledged hysterrunner.  I have run 11 races, including 3 ten milers and half marathons each.  Each and every day, I thank God for the chance to rebuild my body and treat it as a temple.  In a few weeks, I will be at the Baltimore Running Festival.  This year not with a cane chair to cheer but as a runner in the half marathon. 

Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley.

What are you thankful for today?  If you have had a hysterectomy or other injury that has kept you from running, tell me about your progress in the comments.

Six Months & Counting

Today marks 6 months since my hysterectomy! On September 20,2012, I had my uterus removed. After months of hemmorhaging, it was the only choice. It turns out that I didn’t have endometriosis or cervical cancer. I did have numerous fibroids and 2 rapidly growing  tumors which turned out to be benign. The surgery was truly a lifesaver for me. Life post-op has been interesting.

Thanks to my surgery, I went from being a sometimes mother runner to a badass hysterrunner. When I first coined the term, “No uterus, no problem,” I had no clue how true that would be.

Before my surgery, I ran 10-12 miles a week. After, it was a battle to run 1-2 miles at a time. Today, I’m averaging 25 miles/week! Why? Because I am thankful to be alive! Pre-hyster, I was considering maybe running a 5K a month. Now, I have challenged myself to run 13 races in 2013, including several 10 mile races and my first half-marathon!

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I used to read stories about people who have a new lease on life and chuckle. Now I understand how grateful it truly feels to be able to do something you may not have had a chance to otherwise. I run for all of the reasons in this picture. I run to thank God for giving me my body back. I am thankful for the chance to make it healthier day by day.

Day by day, day by day, oh dear Lord these things I pray. To see things more clearly, day by day. Love thee more dearly, day by day. Follow thee more nearly, Lord, day by day. – Godspell

What are you thankful for today? Let me know in the comments.

Hysterectomy Statistics–Infographic

I wanted to share some basic hysterectomy facts with you.  But, I didn’t want to bore you with a really long list of statistics written in research-ese.  If you want that version of the facts, visit the CDC website for Hysterectomy.

To give you the facts, I have created my first infographic.  It’s a pretty simple one and because I’m not that graphic arts savvy it only has a few key points.  But, I think it gets my point across.  Here you go –

hysterrunner facts

Are you a runner or avid exerciser who has had a hysterectomy?  Do you know any one who is?  Let them know about this blog.  I’m interested in learning about others’ experiences as they regain their fitness post-hysterectomy.

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!