From the bottom of my heart: Thank You So Much!

27 10 2010

Thank You!

Sometimes I feel as though words are such a minimal expression of what is truly within. If only there was a way to express how grateful I am to everyone who gave to support blood cancer research this past marathon season. Your support helped push me to the finish line, literally.

The race was not what I was expecting – it was so much more. The participants numbered the thousands, 20,000 to be exact. San Fran was awash in an ocean of women (and some men) who were all there to celebrate a few things: memories, survivors, fighters, and the hope for a cure. In the last 7 years, the NIKE Women’s Marathon, through the fundraising efforts of Team in Training, has raised over $105 million to find a cure for blood cancers. These are huge strides to cover in less than 10 years, which has seen the advent of breakthroughs in new treatments and technologies to help manage cancer.

The days leading up to the race started off great, with temperatures in the low 70s permeating the city. However, as the weekend approached, temperatures dropped. Race day weather was in the 50s, with rainfall at 10am. I developed tendinitis around mile 6, and started to limp around mile 9. Remembering the pain of my bone marrow biopsy kept me going. I was at mile 11 when the rain started to come down, but I could taste the finish line – I was so close! Having my hubby, sister Teu, brother in law Joey, Mama Sole, Uncle Joseph and Rich, and the throngs of Team in Training volunteers cheering us on really kept my spirit high. Remembering those that I was running for kept my foot in front of the other. It was a great day, one that I will always remember.

Thanks to all of your support, my personal campaign was able to raise $4,890 for blood cancer research!!!!

But the fight doesn’t stop here. Someday, hopefully soon, we will be able to create that which we envision – a world free of cancer! We have to keep hope alive. Thank you again, and here’s to a successful run (and my first Tiffany’s necklace, woo hoo!)!!!

Thanks & Love

I'm a Survivor!


And it all comes crashing down……

14 10 2010

Here we are, a few days before the race. I should be excited. I was excited. But I’m not as excited anymore thanks to news that I was hoping I wouldn’t have to hear.

A few weeks ago, I went to see an opthamologist for irritation I was experiencing in my left eye. Apart from the redness and irritation, there were a few small white bumps along my lashline on my bottom eyelid. When I first saw my eye doctor, she asked me if anything had happened to my eye to cause the irritation. I thought back to the time when I was cleaning my mold-ridden shower, and recalled that some cleaner (with bleach) had splashed into my left eye. I recall that day vividly because I practically stumbled out of the shower to flush it out. I didn’t see any effects immediately after the incident, or rather, didn’t pay too much attention to it.
My eye doctor, Dr. Chen, then agreed that what she saw on my eyelid was consistent with a chemical burn. However, she did mention that she is a bit concerned because had there been no chemical involvement, what was going on in my eye resembled cancer. *Great.* She prescribed me an antibiotic ointment to apply to my eyelid for the next two weeks. Fast forward to yesterday, my two week follow up. The condition of my left eye hasn’t really improved, aside from less irritation on the inside of my bottom eyelid (facing the eyeball). The bumps are still there, a bit more white than before. She flashed her bright microscope over my eyelid. She sat back and said that the condition of my eyelid did not seem to be improving. The next step is a biopsy, which is scheduled for Oct 19.

I mean, really? Cancer of the eyelid? I know that it’s just a precaution and that all this is preliminary, but what if? Dr. Chen briefly discussed the biopsy: it’s an outpatient procedure that will be done at her office, and it will involve cutting off a piece of the “growth” to analyze for cancer. IF the biopsy comes back positive for cancerous cells, then depending on how much cancerous tissue there is on my lashline, it may have to be removed in it’s entirety, causing some deformity.

When I was first going through the diagnostic process for leukemia, the attending physician assistant, Mike, told me to “prepare for the worst and hope for the best.” How does one prepare for deformity? I’ve been muddling over that thought all night. I’ve been praying all night, I’ve been crying all night. Why now? Why this? Also on the agenda for that Tuesday is a CAT scan. My primary care physician is concerned with my constant headaches, and is ordering the test just to be safe.

It seems that given my condition, every health implication is compounded by the fact that I have leukemia. But when can I just be “normal”? This news has definitely skewed my enthusiasm for this weekend. I hope I can just forget about it for a day, to be normal for a day, and do what I have been training to do for the last 20 weeks, for just one day. RUN.

Perhaps I should have held back all the health follow ups and appointments until AFTER the race. I guess in this case, Ignorance would have been Bliss.

*Hoping and praying for a favorable outcome.*

T Minus 17 Days Till Race, Give or Take a Few Rainstorms

1 10 2010

I still cannot believe that it is already October, exactly 17 days until race day! I am so excited to be THISCLOSE to running a half marathon to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in support of their mission of finding a cure for blood cancers! I have two main goals at the moment: 1) keep up with my weekly training, 2) DO NOT injure myself or catch a cold. I may have jeopardized number 2 yesterday by jogging 3 miles in the pouring rain….yes, I’d have to say not the smartest thing in my book, but oh well. Thanks to my handy supply of Airbone and the super dose of Vitamin C it provides, I’m hoping I can keep any colds at bay until at least after the race. Here’s to super doses of Vitamin C and some hot chocolate to pair with the rainy weather we’re currently experiencing in Hulaland!

Rain Rain Go Away, Come Again After the Race

On another AMAZING note, through the kind and generous support of SO many people, WE have managed to raise $4,310 to date in support of blood cancer research!!!! That’s $310 above my initial goal of $4,000!!! The ability of the human heart to experience and show love is such a blessing in life, especially when that love and support makes one person all the better for it. I have been made better by all the love and support that I have received in this venture. Thank you so much!

A special Thank You to my fellow cohort members and faculty of my Public Administration graduate program (PUBAns) at the University of Hawaii for their support. I was not expecting anything, but as life is full of surprises, so are people. I was pleasantly surprised and touched that this group of people that I have only known for a little over a month gave their hearts and resources to support me in my race and in the cause of finding a cure for leukemia. Thank you ALL so much!

I was following the instructions on the card

“Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without forgetting. – Unknown.”

Thanks & Love

T Minus 26 Days Until Race Day!!!!

22 09 2010

After all the long hours of training every Saturday, all the mileage that’s accumulated over the weeks, race day is quickly upon us! There is less than a month left until we board the Hawaiian Air flight to San Francisco to join forces with 20,000 strong race participants. Twenty six days left until I can cross out “Run a Marathon” from my Bucket List.

After having experienced the task of juggling work, school, and training, I can begin to say that there is a toll that takes place on the physical being, the ability to remain strong and constant in your resolve to keep up with the required training schedule. As easy as it is to begin a venture, it’s just as easy to become complacent. After having missed five days of training, and experiencing the subsequent fatigue and grogginess from not training, I was able to make up 6 miles on Monday. I struggled during the first 2.5 miles, but somehow was able to find the energy to finish strong and shave off 15 minutes from my finish time. In the end, I was able to complete 6 miles in 1 hr 15 minutes, shy of my normal 1 hr 30 minutes. My knees were a bit sore afterwards, with my right knee still sore throughout the day today. I’m hoping that it’s something that a little bit of ice and ibuprofen can fix. I met with our physical therapist Jaco two weeks ago, and he said that I need to start incorporating some strength training exercise routines into my training sessions so that I can strengthen my legs to help absorb the work that goes into my running routine. Makes sense, truly. Today was rest day and class night with my fellow PUBA cohort members. Unfortunately, I ate something throughout the day that had an unfavorable reaction to my medication, thus kicking up my digestive side effects. I missed out on lecture for about 15 painful minutes, but thanks to my very understanding professors, my dipping out of class to deal with my digestive side effects will not be an issue. I’ll be picking up another 6 miles (*hopefully*) tomorrow afternoon. I’m just hoping that the same energy bolt hits me tomorrow, and I’ll be able to finish again at 1 hr 15 mins. We shall see!

What's On Your Bucket List?

On another bright note, I’ve reached 100% of my goal to raise $4,000 for blood cancer research and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!! *Cheers* The outpouring of love, support, and resources to aid me in my cause has truly touched my very soul, and I am just blessed and overwhelmed with gratitude. It’s just very overwhelming and humbling to receive support from family, friends, and strangers alike, and that they, too, are hopeful for a cure someday and that they empathize with my cause. Another amazing aspect of this whole experience has been the connections and friendships made as a result of this project. Cancer, as awful as it can be, has become an increasingly common thread in the lives of people, by way of knowing someone who has been touched by cancer or experiencing it themselves. There is a solidarity in cancer that strengthens the resolve of society to continue to hope for a cure, and for society to strive for that goal through their support of organizations like The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone for sending in their pledges to support blood cancer research through my first half marathon! YOU are the inspiration for cancer patients like myself to keep going and to keep hoping for a cure, knowing that we have the support of many to see us through. However, I just received confirmation from our local chapter that we can continue to raise funds beyond the goal that we’ve set, so if you’ve been meaning to send in your support, you can still do so by accessing the link through my “Donate To Our Cause” Link under the Make a Difference section to the right of this page! God bless you all for your love and support!

Thanks & Love

Thirteen and Still Going >>

15 09 2010

Yesterday morning, I had my monthly check up with my Oncology Nurse, Christa. My blood work came back showing my blood cells all within normal range, which is always such welcome news. 13 months of remission *glowing* I left there feeling unabashedly confident and grateful, grateful that I was given another cancer-free month of my life. All the more merrier news being that my race is only a month away.

Although sometimes, not often, I find myself awake at night, lying by my husband and wondering, “When will my days of living cancer-free end, the day the miracle drug stops working and my body has to fend for itself?” Those moments are always the darkest ones, where my imagination runs rampant with all the possible “what ifs” and the potential worst-case scenarios. How will I plan my funeral? Should I get a living will in place? etc. etc. etc. You’re probably thinking, “Oh, how morbid!” But the reality is, my thoughts are probably common place among most cancer patients, regardless of remission status. These are the thoughts that linger at the back of our minds, with almost intuition-like tendencies, creeping up once in a while. Come to think of it, such thoughts are typical human responses to our situation. I guess the only consolation is that we at least anticipate the end, while for others, the end can happen without a moment’s notice. Such is the reality of life, the never ending cycle of creation and death. In those quiet moments of night, I let my silent cries and tears flow down my face and dampen my pillows. When I wake to another day, feel the sun warming my bed, I am grateful, again, to be given a second chance.

For another sunrise =)

Thanks & Love

{ Short Hiatus }

14 09 2010

So I’ve been on radio silence for the last couple of weeks. Not intentionally, mind you. I last left off with news that I was starting grad school. Tack on 3 hrs of class to an 8 hr work day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, all the while attempting to keep up with my marathon training, and that combination makes for one tired Taui =(. However, I was able to get in a few hours of rest and relaxation during Labor Day weekend. My husband and I spent a few hours laying out by the lagoon at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. It became apparent that the “lagoon” was of synthetic nature when the sand started bleeding white coloring in the water and had a consistency of dirt. Ironic being that Waikiki Beach was a few yards away. Note to self: natural is better.


Dinner at Good to Grill on Kapahulu after a meeting with Mr. Sun

Although I’ve been able to get Saturday training sessions in during most weeks, the weekly training schedule has suffered. Today was my first weekly training session since I started grad school, and I could feel it. I wasn’t able to run as long as I was two weeks ago, but it felt good to get some time in anyway. The parks were crowded today, filled with numerous running groups, beachgoers, soccer players, wedding parties taking formal pictures, and surfers, of course, to name a few. The sun is starting to set earlier, a sign that summer has come and gone.

Magic Island

Shadow in Magic Island

Running in Magic Island

The day ended on a good note, with a nice cold Acai Primo Bowl from Jamba Juice and no traffic on the drive home. A nice warm shower and some quality time with my blog. I’m off to reading assignments for tomorrow night’s class. Good night, sweet night, and sweet dreams to all!

Thanks & Love

Shake It For the Weekend!

3 09 2010

I came across this on Facebook and had to post it on here! =) For future use when in need of a major pick-me-up! Just finished a three day streak of PUBA 600 meetings all in a row. Learned a few new interesting things about critical thinking and analytical reading, things that would have been really handy during my undergrad years. Marathon training was put on hold the last five days due to a last minute scramble to find myself a “new” used car, as well as to attend grad classes. Will be picking up 6 miles tomorrow after work, then Team training on Saturday. We’re slated to hit the Pali Highway route again, which has been my favorite thus far. Will take pics and post up soon!

Until then, enjoy the dancing cockatoo!

Thanks & Love