Sunday, March 20, 2011

What a deal!

I would like to take the opportunity to share about an exciting purchase I made recently. I actually made two critical purchases in the last week or two. I upgraded to an iphone after my nano was showing some long-term side effects of the washing machine incident, and the other purchase was a running essential for me...A new lymphedema sleeve.

I got an insider-email from a company called Lymphedivas. They were having a 24-hour half-price sale on their stylish lymphedema sleeves. This was a big deal, because these things don't come cheap.

Rocking the sleeve

If you're asking yourself, "What the heck is lymphedema?" I'll give you the short version. Lymphedema is swelling that occurs in a limb after lymph nodes are removed. Lymph nodes are systems of thingies that are like very tiny bunches of grapes. They control fluid flow through out the body. There are clusters all over the body, and when they're removed, the body can have trouble pulling fluid back out of the limb. A compression sleeve can help the body with this process.

Lymph nodes are commonly removed when a person is suspected to have cancer in them. Having lymphedema of the arm is probably more common in breast cancer survivors, but as a melanoma survivor, I have the same affliction. One of the annoyances of lymphedema is that I need to wear a compression sleeve when I fly on an airplane or exercise. In more severe cases, a person needs to wear a sleeve all the time- I had to do that for a while. It sucks.

What sucks even more than wearing an uncomfortable elastic sleeve that digs into your elbow and causes your fingers to turn into pins and needles while you sit on an airplane, pump iron, or go for a run, is that the standard lymphedema sleeve is a fleshy tan color. Ew.

Lymphedivas to the rescue: lightweight, breathable sleeves that come in (gasp!) a wide array of colors and patterns. I ordered some of these interesting sleeves a few years ago, and was very happy with them. I've been in the market for some new sleeves for quite a while, but they are pretty expensive. The sleeves are only supposed to last for a matter of months, and with all the time I spend wearing one (every time I work out) my current selection is looking pretty shabby.

So when the Divas sent me the info about their sale, I jumped on their site and got myself some new goods. They arrived a few days later in the most adorable package. They were wrapped in beautiful pink and patterned tissue paper, and came with a pen, nail file, and full-color large brochure about their products. It was like getting a present. When I finally unwrapped it, I was even more pleased with what I had gotten. The sleeve and gauntlet (hand piece) are brightly colored and since my last order, the gauntlet has been redesigned for better comfort. I am really enjoying putting on my new purchase before starting a workout.

Kudos to Lymphedivas for not only your awesome sale, but your even more awesome products. I'll be the girl at the gym rocking the sweet compression sleeve.

Hope, Love, Run,
Marathon Girl

Back to Reality

I've slipped back into my real life since my very quick trip to Atlanta. It was an amazing and rewarding experience, speaking to about 400 Lilly employees. The whole thing felt surprisingly natural and comfortable. I found that I wasn't nervous at all, and I couldn't believe it was over already when the hour came to an end.

I was gone for all of twenty-two hours, before I returned home to my 'normal' life. The next day I was back at work, speaking to a much smaller and younger audience about such things as how to find the volume of a prism and speculative writing prompts. What a difference a day makes!

I missed a run because of my trip, but since I've returned home, I have completed all my scheduled runs and nearly all my strength workouts. I occasionally skip out on strength if my schedule gets particularly hectic.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Where in the World is Marathon Girl?

Well, in case you were wondering, I’m currently in Atlanta, Georgia. I know, unexpected, right? Since snow days claimed my February break, I’m excited to get away, even if it’s for such a short trip. This isn’t exactly a vacation, although getting to take a ride in a town car and stay in a hotel sure feel like a special getaway, even if it’s only for twenty-four hours.

A few months ago, I was contacted by Lilly Oncology again and asked if I would be interested in being a part of a patient/survivor panel at their national sales meeting. I was really excited at the prospect of speaking about my experience with cancer to a group of people from the healthcare community. Now, with my first real speaking engagement about nine hours away, I am even more excited, but I'm also feeling the butterflies at this point.

Speaking in front of a group of people doesn’t really scare me, I do that on a daily basis as part of my job. The nerves are because I am considering this an opportunity, and I want it to go as well as it possibly can. I would love, love, LOVE to have more opportunities like this…And it’s not about getting the chance to indulge in the novelties reserved for private-sector employees that my job doesn’t allow for- flying to distant cities, taking town cars to and from the airport, and yummy meals paid for ahead of time.

This is about feeling like I am doing something that matters. Not that what I do on a daily basis doesn’t matter. This trip is just the expression of a second passion. My first love, education, is one that I believe will satisfy me for the rest of my professional career. But since being diagnosed, I have developed a second love, one for advocacy. It may seem like a completely different avenue to explore, but it’s really not that much of a stretch.

When I was twelve, I didn’t know what I was going to be when I grew up. I had a goal though. That goal hasn’t changed in the last fourteen years. I have always wanted to have a positive impact on as many people as I can possibly reach. I want to be remembered as someone who did something that mattered and made a difference in the lives of others. I do realize this is a completely immeasurable goal, but I still feel that it describes what I want to achieve during my lifetime, and both education and advocacy fit neatly under the umbrella of a goal I have maintained for more than half of my life. If you’ve read anything on here or know me more personally, I am nothing if not goal-oriented.

So tomorrow morning, I will be speaking to people, not just representing myself, but the 70,000 other young adults who are diagnosed with cancer each year. For the ones who are too sick to speak, are too busy fighting, and especially those who were not diagnosed in time and don’t have a voice anymore. So wish me luck, and here’s to making an impact.

Hope. Love. Run,

Marathon Girl