Archive for colonoscopy assistance program

Triathlon training, colonoscopies and the meaning of life

Posted in cancer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2015 by runmyssierun

zwift

I got super sick this week. Thank goodness it was just a bug that lasted a couple of days but it was enough to knock me off my training track. Good thing that I was finally accepted into the Zwift program! Unfortch, I was too sick and impatient to get myself hooked up. I’m feeling much better and hope to get the system completely installed so I can see what all the hoopla is about.

For now, I just have my playlist going and youtube videos like this on the big screen. *I better get this done tomorrow the right way!!! Zwifting at the edge of the ocean right now. This is as close to the island as I can get.

The docs and my trusty JTIs have all worked super hard for the Rio Grande Valley Colonoscopy Assistance Program’s 5k coming up on Saturday. With two races under our belts, we’re feeling more at ease about this race coordination stuff now and have some awesome support from the City of McAllen and our sponsors.

Some of the RGV CAP Board members after our 2nd race

Some of the RGV CAP Board members after our 2nd successful 10k race!!!

Some of the RGV CAP board being a little silly after our first 5k success!!!

Some of the RGV CAP board being a little silly after our first 5k success!!!

P.S. Proceeds from these events go to fund financial and informational support for residents of the Rio Grande Valley who are at high risk or have great need of a colon cancer screening. Whether they need information on how to figure out if their current insurance can cover the colonoscopy expenses, don’t have insurance and need financial assistance or just need help in understanding the symptoms, treatments and options, these events that we do help raise funds to give them a better chance at identifying the cancer at an early stage and give them a fighting chance against colon cancer or rectal cancer.

http://www.foxrio2.com/looking-to-particpate-in-a-5k-find-out-how-you-can-join/

So very proud of this little chiquita, Laura Corpus, RGV CAP’s President, who has spearheaded the project that is near and dear to my heart. I was supposed to be with her on this interview but got up at 2:00a.m. that morning with technicolor projectiles. She handled this interview like a champ on LIVE TV!  #bottomsup

Want to join? Tomorrow is the last day to sign up on Active.com http://www.active.com/mcallen-tx/running/distance-running-races/rgvcap-5k-run-walk-2015?int=

If you miss the deadline, you can sign up on race day morning at 7:00 a.m. but no guarantee that you’ll get a t-shirt.

And the best part is that everyone behind the scenes doesn’t just talk the talk… the very next day, we’ve signed up to do Stanley’s Triathlon!!!  It’s going to be a very busy week for all of us… and a very productive week, too!

Oh! Like us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/RGVCAP

I try to keep a distinct line with my writing about family but I was totally up front about my being candid with feelings toward cancer. In the next few weeks, April 11, will mark my baby brother being gone 4 years. On April 8, it will be 3 years for my Momma. We, as a family, are all trying to move on with our lives and have done our best to heal. The transition has been difficult, the world will never be the same and some of us (family members) are not healing at the same pace as others.

I’ve never claimed to be the know-it-all of this nemesis named cancer so I ask of any of you who have dealt with multiple deaths, how have you dealt? I am so grateful that I have found a healthy outlet for my frustration but I know better than to think this is a cure-all one size fits all kind of remedy for all my family nor am I bold enough to claim that I’m completely healed… whatever that means. I’ve witnessed them hurt themselves so much with bad decisions, self destructive behaviors, etc. How can I get them to see the consequences of their actions? Do I even have a right to say anything? And who am I to say anything? And am I a bad person for not saying anything? Seriously, have you ever felt like the whole world has just gone completely mad at times and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it?

I wish she was here. She’d know what to do.

Jara Chingas

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2014 by runmyssierun

 

While running marathons and doing triathlons, I met some pretty phenomenal women. Each of us touched by cancer in different ways and all are just as passionate to do something about it. Almost a year ago, I sat with one over coffee and discussed the beginnings of a nonprofit specifically for the people of the Rio Grande Valley who needed help getting colonoscopies because they either did not have insurance or their copayment was out of financial reach for them.

Since then, we’ve already done a 5k race and 1 mile kids run and to our surprise… Was really successful!!!

Some of the RGV CAP board being a little silly after our first 5k success!!!

Some of the RGV CAP board being a little silly after our first 5k success!!!

Our Board consists of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and survivors. And we have three big events coming up soon.

A 10k next week, a “mixer” at a local country club and a gala all within about a month!!!

P.S. I have tickets!! Message me via facebook and I'll deliver them to you (If you live in the RGV area).

P.S. I have tickets!! Message me via facebook and I’ll deliver them to you (If you live in the RGV area).

A lot of events right?

Unfortunately, I’ve been receiving news all week long of people who have touched my heart and lost their battle.

All my work, all my efforts … It’s taking too long to reach these people in need. Or maybe it’s just not enough. Maybe I need to do more. If only I could convince OTHERS to do more. Join me? Please?

————–

I’m officially back on the wagon!! My workouts this week have been great! Intense and ok, I’ll say it. I’m noticeably sore today.

10506947_799574123397427_3233248654733729926_o

I rode with Team McAllen for the first time today…on Jarachinas road!!! Now, I’ve spoken about this hilly road several times in my blog. Living in flat lands, this stretch of road is our only “hill country” so it’s used quite often for training. HOWEVER, with all the border violence, illegal crossings and general bicycle crashes that have been happening, cyclists rarely go out in that area by themselves. So, when it was mentioned to me that a group would be out there, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to put in some “real” miles on my Mimi and taste the wind!!!

It was a great ride with an unfamiliar but awesome group. As usual, I popped off the group as we hit the second hill and put in my right ear bud. Riding against the wind (albeit there was VERY little wind) and put Mimi into her toughest gear for a harder workout and did as many intervals as I could. I kept the group within a half to one mile distance at all times for safety reasons.  On the return southward, I kept it easy to recover. I probably took advantage of the recovery mentality too much because the playlist was just too fun not to dance on my bike the whole way.

I think I began to feel like I wasn’t supposed to enjoy my training rides the way I did so I just didn’t ride anymore. I had spent almost all summer long not riding just so I could avoid a handful of people who made me feel bad about feeling good on a bike. And there I was… sweating profusely… sun rising… birds chirping… all by myself on my bike… wind in my face. I could see the red blinking lights of the pack about a half mile away and then I looked over my left shoulder. Yep. The coast was clear.

I reached into my jersey pocket. Took out my iPhone. Turned up the volume (*to my ONE ear bud) and SANG MY LUNGS OUT WHILE RIDING!!!

I BELONG TO YOU

YOU BELONG TO ME

MY SWEET….. HHHHHEEEEEEAAAAAARRRTTTTTTT

And I was ok. Sore. But ok.

9282_10154458552850068_5543566463029842153_n (1)

Had this been a year ago, I would have been bothered that I wasn’t with the pack or leading the pack, being pushed by someone or worried about what the others were thinking about my performance. I’ve grown so much. I’ve learned so much. I think in the middle of no where, I found myself.

I’m not quite sure how to word it because re-reading this… it sounds really contradictory to me. But I’ve become pretty content with who I am and will expect nothing less than continuing to improve myself.

My Tia Estella and I celebrating her 92nd birthday.

My Tia Estella and I celebrating her 92nd birthday.

Later that Saturday night, I spent the evening celebrating my great Aunt’s 92nd birthday. There was a 20-minute video that featured all of Tia Estella’s amazing life and she made sure that both Momma and Sissy were included in the video. Yes, I cried. She was a beautician, a nurse, a Justice of the Peace, a widow to cancer, an advocate for the poor and elderly, the director of the Housing Authority and best of all.. a daughter, sister, wife, aunt, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. And then I took a good look around the room filled mostly with family… it hit me. ALL THE WOMEN IN MY FAMILY ARE SERIOUSLY AMAZING!

They don’t just do one thing and do it well. They do it all and go balls out! They are all well rounded, highly intelligent, good natured, friendly, fun loving, gun toten’, family first, devoted Catholic women… that dance and sing a whole lot!!!

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10154460111500068&set=vb.512615067&type=2&theater

These women raised me this way. Just like Momma. I hope that with my new healthy lifestyle, I can live to be 92 as well and touch the world as well as my Momma did.  And if I don’t live to be 92, I hope to live each day of my life in happiness doing the best that I can for as long as I can with what I’ve got.

P.S. My Daddy asked me to dance that night. I hadn’t two-stepped since 1994. It’s monumental moments like this that I know will never make it to my “This is your life” video so I jot them down on facebook or this blog so when someone researches me, they’ll know that it was the little things in my life with my family that meant the most to me.

10373663_10154460021275068_2402920815579361109_n

 

 

With a little help from my friends

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2014 by runmyssierun

They say it takes a village to raise a child… and without any offense to my Momma and my family – in fact I am quite certain that she would agree – I am living proof because this community sure has picked me up to a place where I never ever thought I could be!

Officially changing the spelling to The "Myssie"!!!

Officially changing the spelling to The “Myssie”!!!

The Health Nut (a local chain of stores independently owned and operated) that makes healthy shakes and smoothies has a shake that is labeled “a local favorite” named “The Missy Shake” and I swear it really is the best tasting healthy shake EVER!!! Well, when I walked in on Friday… they (brother and sister Michael and Sara) coyly reached into the drawer and pulled out a label spelled “Myssie” to replace the original lettering!!! This coming weekend, they will be offering “The Myssie” at a discount and donating that discount to my Mimi’s Miles fund!!!

Click on the photo to get WINdetergent to launder your own sports gear and finally get that funky smell out!

Click on the photo to get WINdetergent to launder your own sports gear and finally get that funky smell out!

Windetergent is also donating a portion of the proceeds from the sales of orders from this link: http://tnt.windetergent.com/myssie

*If you haven’t tried WINdetergent, YOU NEED TO!!! No more stinky bike shorts and drifit running jerseys and sports bras for me!!!

1964346_10202679882494897_611667115_n

I’ve had jewelry (necklaces and bracelets) custom designed to symbolize the love between my mother and I with our now famous hand sign made by the former Miss Corpus Christi (*True story – I was asked to be “the other woman” in Selena’s last video but I couldn’t make it and suggested Miss Corpus Christi as a replacement. She was stunning. There’s no way I could have done a better job. Here’s her video) She made about 100 necklaces and bracelets with her own hands and donated all her labor.

I’m still in need of a corporate sponsor this season. And I am sure this company is going to run into me when I least expect it. Maybe this is the wrong way of doing things but so far… all my “signs” have led me to so many awesome people. I’m hoping my signs stay true and lead me to the company who understands how important this cause is… not just for me…but also for the community, the nation, the world… but more personally, for it’s employees and their loved ones.

It is with this frame of mind that I am so honored that Life Time Triathlon chose me as their ambassador this year! I’m still in shock!

Use the code #CAPTEX1402 to get 10% off your CapTexTri registration

Use the code #CAPTEX1402 to get 10% off your CapTexTri registration

Spread this around and make it viral! If you are a triathlete or know one or have been on the fence about becoming one… use this code #CAPTEX1402 when you register for the Capital of Texas Triathlon on May 26, 2014, in Austin, Texas, and you receive 10% off your registration fee and you’ll be using that discount to help fight blood cancers via #Mimismiles all in memory of my Momma!!!

And now I’ve been asked to participate in so many other cancer events!!! I now sit on the Board for the CAP5k (Colonoscopy Assistance Program) which fundraises via 5k race events – among other events – and the proceeds go to fund local Rio Grande Valleyites that are high risk for colon cancer and need assistance paying for their colonoscopies. The 5k is this coming weekend and you can register through active.com or this link right here:

http://www.active.com/mcallen-tx/running/races/rgv-cap-5k-run-walk-2014?int=72-3-A4

1743676_10153855950225068_1335386399_n

I was also asked to be part of Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance’s Colon Cancer Awareness Walk with the Doc tonight. “The Doc” is Dr. Belinda Jordan who happened to be my very first TNT Mentor!!! I got a text from Annabell and a reminder from Gaby and they even got me a t-shirt for the event! I love how there is a great sudden move to push people from the uncomfortable taboo subject of people’s “privates” and making it a bit more socially acceptable and comfortable to talk/ask about Colorectal Cancer and Ovarian Cancer. If you are around here locally and would like to join me tonight, please please please do so! #bottomsup

Walk with the Doc

And speaking of Ovarian Cancer… I was invited to attend a little intimate discussion about Ovarian Cancer and the Sprint for Like 5k with staff from MD Anderson at the home of Rosalie Weisfeld. I had no idea that there wasn’t a test for “Gyn Cancers”. I honestly thought that my CA-125 was all that I needed and since I was ok on that test, I was off the hook! I think I was wrong!!! I honestly learn something new on the subject of Cancer every day! But the best part about that afternoon was listening to Heather Marks talk about her experience. Her journey began just two months before my Momma’s. I am so very happy that her story had a happy ending. I do still believe in hope even after all we have been through. 

Sharing their stories about ovarian cancer and the Sprint for Life 5k Run/Walk and the Sprint for Sprouts Kids Run! All benefitting research and awareness for the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program. Thank you Rosalie Weisfeld for hosting this discussion!

Sharing their stories about ovarian cancer and the Sprint for Life 5k Run/Walk and the Sprint for Sprouts Kids Run! All benefitting research and awareness for the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program. Thank you Rosalie Weisfeld for hosting this discussion!

And now for my training update!!! My tummy has been giving me lots of issues this week. It’s gone so long now that I will probably go visit the doctor about it. (it’s been almost a week like this!)

I wasn’t able to attend the group swim practice this week but did get to make it up plus an extra swim workout the following day. My bike ride on Tuesday morning was torture on my legs but after the first few miles, I was able to get back into my groove. I wasn’t able to make the Thursday ride since I was saving my legs for the Team McAllen Time Trial on Sunday. But was able to easily get coaxed by my fellow San Francisco TNT alumni and CAP Board Member, Laura, as she blurted out to me that she wanted to become a triathlete, too! So we went swimming!!!

971760_10202372817014770_541279970_n

And of course… as we were hanging over the ledge of the pool chit chatting… we naturally go into the discussion of cycling. Wouldn’t you know it.. the following day, she comes back with a beauty of a bike from my bike guru, Wally Alaniz at Wally’s Bicycles!

1961956_10202378193109169_137424175_o

I’m not sure who’s more excited, me or her, about her new adventure in triathlon!

Saturday morning was our TNT TriTeam’s first real long ride. It was about 27 miles. I arranged for two of us to SAG because I predicted the group breaking off into two. I was right! One of my fellow cyclepaths was eagerly  volunteered into the SAG position 😉 And I rode in the next car with all my safety gear.

Sure enough, on the second loop of the great city of Granjeno, Gio gets a flat. I quickly jump out of my car with pump and tube in hand. Flip the bike over and carefully give her instructions while helping her put the wheel on and off and replacing the busted out tube. HOWEVER… in my haste I think I may have punctured the tube by pinching it on the side with the tool and knew that the rest of the group would be at the third loop by that time. In frustration, I packed up the bike and found the group at the corner convenience store along with many of the 5am’ers and TMC cyclists. With my tail between my legs, I handed over the bike to Coach W where she began the tire changing lesson as if it was as easy as boiling water.

Lesson: I still need more practice changing tires! I can’t afford to have this happen again!

On a happy note, the group did awesome! There were about 4 PRs that morning!

1510464_10153971978455068_1196273161_n

Nothing can stop this group now! #renlentless

And then Sunday morning came around… the Team McAllen Time Trials!! This would be my third time trial but my first on the Cervelo! I arrived LATE because of my diarrhea I had been having all week long but more so that night before and that morning!!! I was dehydrated but stubborn. I needed to see that I was improving.

It was sooooo worth it! I shaved two minutes off my time from just last month!

TT 3 2014

Remembering WHY I am here doing what I am doing.

I went back through my blog to this week two years ago and re-read this entry. I cried to myself and vividly remember and felt every emotion just as if I were right back there. So, to the person who wrote me last night about her mother that recently passed away, know that your emotions are valid and it really does take more than a week of grieving to heal… but it does get better and you do get stronger and the grace that your mother had finds its way into your heart some way some how.

Here’s the entry from two years ago:

March 21, 2012

quit (verb) – to stop trying, struggling, or the like; accept or acknowledge defeat.

These past two weeks were emotionally difficult for me. I saw my usually vivacious, super-power infused mother weak, frail and suffering. What ever was in this last treatment knocked everything out of her. I could get my thumb and touch it with my index finger and her leg could fit right through it. Her hair has now fallen off and her normally wrinkle free olive skin has an odd grayish/yellow tint to it.

I was worried – really worried – for the first time ever. So I spent the weekend with her and then called her main doctor at MD Anderson. After questioning me about her symptoms, we agreed that it was best for her to return to Houston for a week so he could monitor her better under medical staff care. I was not comforted by his concern.

She grabbed my hand and squeezed it with all her might and looked me straight in the eyes and said “I’m worried about Myssie. She has so much on her plate right now. Can you keep an eye on her and help out?”

We had been warned that her memory functions may be lost as a result of her last radiation treatment. I don’t know who she thought I was at the time but I was glad that I had the strength and courage not to have the shock and sadness show in my reaction to her as I replied with “I will Momma, I will. Don’t you worry. I’ll take good care of her.”

That was Sunday about noon time. They drove to MD Anderson on Sunday afternoon and met with her doctor on Monday morning.

I was sitting at my desk working on a proposal for a client of mine just shortly before lunch. I had a ton of meetings scheduled and needed tons more to make my quota. The stress was insane. That’s when I got the phone call from Dad.

“Myssie, can you talk?”

“Yes Daddy. What did the doctor say?”

“It’s not good. There’s nothing more that they can do. We’re coming home…. right now. They’ve released her to hospice. We’ll be home about 6:30.”

There must have been at least a year of silence after that. I was crushed.

Why?

I was asked just days ago by my Team in Training coach why I was running. Why I was putting my body through this? What was I doing this for?

As silly as it may sound, part of me was hoping that God would see how hard I was trying. That He would see that I was willing to take the pain away from her and volunteer it onto me in order to not have her suffer any more. I wanted that pain and suffering to quit. I wanted cancer to quit. Because I wasn’t going to allow myself to quit. I would never quit.

Well, that was until I heard those words from my dad.

I did want to quit. I wanted so badly to throw in the towel and give up. Why should I run? Really, why should I? It’s not like running a marathon will produce a cure for my mom as I cross the finish line. What am I doing? I should just quit.

I thought long and hard about how to tell friends and family about the news. I wanted to be angry and blame everything from preservatives to toxic land for her suffering. But I am so glad I didn’t. I took a deep breath and took a step back and told myself now is how I must example the way she brought me up.

The following is what I posted to friends and family on my facebook wall:

Science and medicine has done all that it possibly can. Momma has shown incredible strength and faith through these tough 6-plus years. The choice to discontinue treatment does not mean that she has quit. It means that she is strong enough to accept God’s will and live the remainder of her life with her family and friends at home instead of hotel rooms and hospitals. I am so very proud of her bravery, so very thankful to her miraculous team of doctors and so very grateful for everyone’s prayers, kind gestures and help. Keep them coming.

See, my mother is not a quitter. Cancer will likely beat her body. But it won’t beat her. She’ll never quit. Her legacy will live on and continue to teach us, to love us and to give unto others. She never quit. And neither will I.

%d bloggers like this: