Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Physical Change - 1 year later

I am coming up on one year of treatment which has included 7 cycles (5 months) of RVDD, two autologous stem cell transplants and now onto 4 cycles of RVD. My body has been put through straight hell, with my spirit very much still intact. Below is the picture Cassie and I took the first day of chemo. So much for just saying no to drugs! I have been saying YES for a while now.

One year of treatment combined with the decrease of my physical activity (i.e. not working out) has had significant affects on my body. First, I notice that things don't heal as quickly as they used to; although, maybe I just never paid attention to this sort of thing. In addition, my muscles have all but disappeared. I left Michigan Football in the greatest shape of my life. I was 210 lbs, I could bench press over 300 lbs and I could run a sub-5 minute mile pretty easily. Now I am 180 lbs dripping wet, I couldn't do 10 push-ups and walking a mile right now is a solid accomplishment.

But that's okay. Before I started treatment I trained and then ran in the Big House Big Heart 10K Run (here's that old blog post). It was my way of telling my body that I am still in control and I also wanted to get my body in the best possible shape before treatment. Well this year I am not able to run the 10k for health reasons, but Cassie, my mom and sisters are stepping up to run for me, along with a bunch of good friends. I did sign Ocean up for the fun run and I will walk it with him. It will be a special moment to be able to enter the Big House with him running by my side. Something that I will look forward to each year from here on out.

Next Steps:
  • Now - 10/4 Two weeks off of chemo - hooray!
  • 10/5 Start of Chemo Cycle #2
  • 10/9 Michigan dominates MSU
I'll end with a photo of John (Navarre) and me celebrating after the Washington Kick. I started this treatment journey with the goal of attaining the same ending from that day (8/31/02). This picture is just a reminder of how sweet it is going to be when we get this disease out of my body and I can do 10 push-ups again!!!!


Kindred Spirit said...

It's so good to read that things are on track, Phil.Just keep doing what you're doing. God is in control and the best is yet to come. You and Cassie and your little ones are in my prayers each day. Keep kicking, Phil; you're right on target!!!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like everything is going great! Your physical condition will improve with time. Listen to your body it will tell you when it's ready to start building up the guns again.

How fun for you and your little man to be able to run/walk together, I bet I would be able to see the pride on your face all the way over here in Cali!!

Lastly, hooray for a chemo vacay
and bottoms up to cycle #2 but the 10/9 thing.... really?

Take care! Liz

Ryan Mason said...

Enjoy your two weeks off from the drugz. And I can't wait for when we get back on track against MSU!

Foster Braun said...

Thanks for sharing your goals. I can relate; a year ago I was just getting back into running 5k's and my times were steadily improving until August of 09 when MM began to consume my bones.
I too have been through my first stem cell transplant at Karmanos and am now in remission. I used to be 6'1" but am now just over 5'10" and weigh about 190. My little dog keeps me walking about 2 miles a day as she chases squirrels around Royal Oak. Just participated with her in the Gilda's House walkathon. Great people, great cause.
You are on my prayer list every morning as I thank God for his healing touch in our lives and those of others who have been marked by cancer. Keep up the good work of encouraging us all to never give up and to make each day that God grants us to count.
Excelsior, brother!

Daniel Fielding said...

Congraulations, and keep your spirits up, Phil!!! Aboutthe loss of physical strength- I have been in remission since 2004, but, am yet to be able to recover fully. The mistake I made is this- I let the weakness dominate me- and Iallowed my muscles to atrophy, my joints and tendons to get weak. I didnt have the right state of mind like you do, and thus, I allowed myself so very weak, and getreall yfat.
If my experience is worth anything, please dont make the mistake Imade. It is really hard to get back into shape, if you allow yurself to get really weak.

Best of luck to you and Cassie and the kids.

Daniel Fielding said...

Just an addendum to my previous comment- I wasnt a MM patient, but had a brain cancer, Glioblastoma Multiformae, which the good docs at the U-M Cancer Ctr helped me beat.

Thunder said...

Congratulations on getting this far, and good luck in the future! Go blue!

Linda said...

I think you're looking great...we need an after shot to go with the before! There is so much to celebrate about where you are right now...dominating MM! As we said on our blog, the "new normal" isn't bad, just different! You will get back to running soon enough, I have no doubt! Enjoy your 2 weeks off...

rosebud101 said...

Congratulations on completing your chemo. My daughter is now in her first cycle of chemo for mm. Her counts are very good and the cancer is being repressed. I can only wish you and yours the very best as you go through your treatments. I hope to see, in your blog, you weighing in at 210 and running the 10k very soon.

Melanie Reyes said...

keep up the good fight, Phil (and family)!
maybe see you at the Big run!