On our first date (7/3/02), I had mentioned to my fiance that I would like to do a triathlon. He told me that he had looked into triathlons in Canada and was interested in competing in a triathlon as well.
We continued dating and training for “our triathlon” at the local YMCA where we were both members. In November 2002, I received a postcard from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training Program. A friend of a friend’s has Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and I thought this is one way I could help her.
One of the events was the Hyannis Sprint Triathlon in Hyannis, MA. We went to the information seminar and signed up. They would provide the hotel room and pay for the entry fee. We just needed to raise $2000.00 each to help fight Leukemia and other blood diseases.
For the next 7 months, Joe and I biked, ran and swam 4-5 times/ week at the Y and we worked at raising the cash needed. In April, I found out I had thyroid cancer and needed surgery to remove the left side of my thyroid. My ENT scheduled my surgery for June 9th, 5 days before the triathlon. After raising the $ and training hard, I wouldn’t be able to do the triathlon after all. I would still go and support Joe.
After a lot of soul searching, I decided to ask my surgeon if I could still do the triathlon instead of transferring my funds and doing the other one in August that the L&LS was offering .My surgery date was changed to 6/16/03 and Joe and I competed in the Triathlon on June 14th.
We started out wanting to do something for ourselves and it ended taking on a whole new meaning. Helping others was our focus and we did it together. I am glad I did the triathlon because I ended up needing more surgery on July 11th to remove the right side of my thyroid and 51 lymph nodes in the left side of my neck because the cancer had metastasized to one lymph node. The second surgery left me in a lot of pain and with left sided nerve damage.
Physical therapy and time has gradually returned most of the strength to my left side. My doctors and physical therapist have told me that I have recovered quicker because I was in such good shape before the surgery. I have the triathlon training with Joe to thank for that. Joe and I will be doing another triathlon in August of this year, 6 weeks after our wedding.
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