Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Race for the Hardy

Hence not for us :-) We three showed up at the Get Your Rear in Gear 5k, picked up our shirts and bananas, and left for the club. Hard rain and 40 degrees is just no fun. I ran 5 miles at the club in 40:52, pace 8:10. No pains at all, though I did feel a little rubbery-legged for part of the way. That’s not an unusual feeling, probably due to too much coffee and too little food; it doesn't seem to slow me down.

I actually feel a little bit stronger, now that I’m temporarily off the thalidomide, so my pace seems a little faster. But tomorrow is a long run, so there was no hurry today and I tried to hold back.

Wore the new Brooks Burn shoes to check them out. My 15th pair, they are fine. Splits: 8:31, 8:08, 8:01, 8:06, 8:06. Breathing mostly four footfalls per full breath.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Lovely Day to Run

indoors. Three miles at the club in 24:07, pace 8:02. Nice run, started out slow but got faster and faster. This was a warmup for tomorrow’s Get your Rear in Gear 5k. No pains at all. Splits 8:29, 8:04, 7:33.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


If I can ever run a whole marathon at this pace, it will be a new 3:35 PR for me. Maybe Grandma’s, with a tailwind? :-) Enjoyable run today, 6 hilly miles in 49:07, pace 8:11. It did feel like a lot more work than yesterday’s 6 miles though, and because of the hills it probably was.

I felt a subdued version of Tuesday’s odd pain at the inside top of my shin bone (tibia) for a few steps early in the run, but that quickly disappeared. Hmmm. Nice to have my sweeties out there today running the same neighborhood loops. They actually ran a 10k, a little farther than my run.

Lake Woebegone is entirely clear of ice now, has been for a couple of days. Will we see the wood ducks soon, as they perch in the oak trees and scan for suitable nesting holes? I hope so; they are really quite spectacular. But it’s early.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Happy Run

Hooray! No pain in the left leg! After yesterday’s painful, aborted run, I had visions of walking the next marathon with a cracked bone. But today the pain was gone. I wonder how that happens. Six miles in 50:04, pace 8:21.

Eagle Momma and I went to the club to run, because it was raining, and so that I could cross-train if running didn’t work out. Boring, as always, but a comfortable place to run nonetheless. Today I focused on the pleasurable feelings as I ran, the wind going by, the metronomic motion of the body, the swoosh of passing a walker or being passed by a faster runner, the steady rapid breathing. It’s easier to focus on the work involved, but more productive to think about the positive feelings.

Splits: 8:37, 8:20, 8:16, 8:19, 8:20, 8:12. Breathing mostly four footfalls per full breath, sometimes three. That is fast breathing for today's workaday pace, but not unusual when, as today, I’ve eaten just before the run. The pace felt very natural, and is just the speed I’d like to run between water stops in the next marathon.

Labs Today

The urine-collection jar was up to 2.4 liters this morning, more than usual, when the 24 hours were up. You start counting odd things when you have cancer. Then after the blood draw, the nurse wrapped the puncture site with gauze instead of using tape, because their tape is so good that it brings some skin with it when I later remove it. This works better. I'll have results next week.

Last night I took the last thalidomide capsule for a week or so. The next step depends on what the doctor sees in the labs. That's good - it's powerful stuff, even at the low 50-mg dose that I take, and I will appreciate a week off.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


No run today. I started out to do an easy 5 miles and immediately felt a pain just below the left knee and a bit to the inside. It might have settled out after a while, but the pain was pretty sharp and in a very specific location within the bone. It feels fine when I'm not running. I'll try again tomorrow, and if it persists I'll see the doc about it. I wonder what a shin splint feels like?

Peeing in a bottle today (24-hour urine collection), blood draw tomorrow. Last thalidomide tonight, for at least a week. Lab results will be available next week, but I won't see the cancer doc for another month.


Sorry, my ego made me do it ...Don running the Austin MarathonThis surprise arrived by Fedex today, behind glass in a nice frame. I think it's one of the coolest age-group awards I've ever seen! Kudos to the Austin Marathon. I didn't pose for the photo, either; they took it along the way somehow.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Windows Vista Is A Bad Joke

My user's old Windows 98 computer is in mothballs, a nice new laptop in its place. We tried to get the laptop with Windows XP, but alas, only Windows Vista was available on the model my user wanted.

I'm not a PC "expert," though I do know my way around, in an office with five networked computers, and have found Windows XP to be a huge improvement over Windows 98 (or ME, 95, etc). However, I've literally spent days trying to figure out how to configure this new Vista machine for my user. Windows Vista is thoroughly obscure.

Changes are to be expected, of course, along with a learning experience. Indeed, Vista is a new operating system, and I didn't take any kind of course to learn about it. Many of the features of XP are there, but are presented in a different way; that's to be expected. In particular, Windows Explorer is used widely as the engine for many of the functions that were separate applications in XP, such as Network Connections and Add/Remove Programs (both now with new names). Hence, many of those functions now have a new look. Okay, things change, we'll adjust.

Yet Vista has serious problems, mostly due to the increased "security." Here are some examples:

  • Protected Mode: This is a new mode which monitors and prevents such things as internet downloads, even for a user with administrator privileges. It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out that there was a little note in the bottom bar of Internet Explorer saying "protected mode." Then it was only a matter of switching that mode off in Internet Options. With it on, I couldn't even download an antivirus program, without which the computer was NOT secure. Does Microsoft assume that real users will turn protected mode off only when necessary? Real users will turn it off and leave it off, because it's a pain in the butt.
  • Wireless Connections: This has been changed so much as to be unrecognizable. Configuration of new wireless networks is even more awkward than it is in XP, and particularly so when connecting to a network with no broadcast SSID. Yet hiding your SSID can be a basic component of wireless security.
  • Every User is Admin: Many MANY functions that a standard user (without admin privileges) would wish to perform can only be done by an admin user. To get around this problem, Vista prompts the standard user for an admin password before performing the function. As a result, every standard user will eventually come to know an admin password. Some security!
  • No Write Access from Network: I have tried for hours to figure out how to place new files on a Vista standard user's account from an XP machine. I've enabled everything that I can think of on the Vista machine, and the protections seem correct (everyone allowed to do anything!) but I can't put files in that user's folders, even though I can put files in the admin user's folders. From the XP side, write privileges always appear disabled. This is an important issue, and I haven't solved it. Microsoft's help, as usual, is nothing more than instructions for how to do the things that are self-explanatory anyway.
  • Windows Defender: I have been using a beta version of this on XP machines for some time now, with no problems. It comes standard with Vista, but it's goofy. It yells about some of my startup programs, but doesn't let me click "allow," with the result that it yells again at the next logon.
If Microsoft's purpose is to make the system more secure, they may have succeeded. Time will tell. Vista may also have new functionality that some users will need, and which I have not yet discovered. But it is certainly not easier to use; it is awkward and obtuse, especially when networking between computers. I wish I could have bought the new machine with XP, and I certainly won't try to upgrade any machines already running XP.

Can you tell I'm frustrated? No matter, in the long run Windows Vista is only a small bump in the road of life. Next post will be more cheerful, I promise.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Pseudo Spring

Weather forecasts for today sounded rather ominous. But this morning was delicious! Shorts and a short-sleeve shirt were plenty, with temps in the low 60's and a modest breeze. First 8.1 hilly miles around My two sweeties on the Gateway trailStillwater with two friends, 1:24:30, pace 10:26. Then 12 more miles by myself on the Gateway Trail, 1:52:09, pace 9:21. Overall pace 9:47. Slow, but I didn’t care today. Lots of stopping for water and other relief without stopping the watch. I met my sweeties on the Gateway twice; that’s nice for all of us. Now I feel wonderful, no pains at all, and muscles are just the right amount of sore. They’ll be fine tomorrow.

I took water and honey (ran out of Clif shot) at miles 8, 12, and 16. Honey in a little squirt bottle works very well, by the way. I’m not sure that GU or Clif Shot is really any better, though the packets may be a little more convenient.

My Brooks Burn training shoes crossed over the 300-mile mark today, time to retire them to just walking. The racing pair will be reassigned to training, and the new racing pair is on order from RnJ Sports. By the way, they are on clearance right now (I don’t know why) for just under $60.00. Excellent price for good shoes; I hope they are not being discontinued. They are still on Brooks’ web site, and other shoe places still show them at regular price.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Foggy Morning

The fog was so thick this morning that you could hear a car coming long before you could see its headlights peering through. We were all very aware of the extra danger of running where drivers might be over-driving their vision. Runners chatting after the run, still foggy!

Nonetheless it was a satisfying run; somehow the fog added to nature’s beauty rather than taking away from it. The St Croix Valley runners meet for a 5-miler starting and ending at the Northland Tennis Courts on County Road 12 (Myrtle), a mile east of County Road 15 (Manning), at 7:00 am every Saturday regardless of weather. Depend on it. Nice group this morning, with Luke, Scott, Jim, Art, Mike, Al, New Dave, Don, Tom, Roy, Dave, Paul, Gauss, Wayne, Eagle Momma, and Sweet Pea. Who did I forget? Five miles in 40:35, pace 8:07.

Tomorrow same time same place for a hilly 8-miler. Anyone is welcome. After that I might (might?) do 12 more to get in the week’s long run, we’ll see how the weather is. I don’t run in lightning; that’s as dumb as golfing in lightning.

I have a table that tells me how to dress, according to the temperature, here. It works for me; it might for you.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What a Day to Run!

What a beautiful day to run! Local neighborhoods, 5.1 hilly miles in 40:38, pace 7:58. Very nice for what was to be an easy run. Sun shining, 50 degrees, only a little wind, the kind of day that makes running a true joy. No pains, no problems. End of 30 miles for the week, back to reality next week.

I just noticed that my training shoes are closing in on 300 miles. Time to demote them to walking, demote my racing pair to training, and get a new pair for racing. Fifteenth pair of Brooks Burn shoes.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Favorite Trail is Open

I ran on my most favorite trail today, the first time this season. There is a marvelous two-rut road alongside the tracks that go through the town of Lake Woebegone, maintained (barely) as a service road by the railroad. It is soft everywhere, even a little muddy in places today, but littered here and there with fairly large ankle-threatening stones which have fallen down from the raised rail bed. I love this trail. Though it presents a mild risk, it keeps me literally on my toes, and the softness of the ground makes it like a slight uphill. It’s actually quite flat, of course, entirely free of traffic, and almost entirely free of people. Perhaps an occasional walker, but no runners. Friends and family who have run this trail with me have been uniformly underwhelmed. It’s my place, and apparently mine alone.

Today the railroad gods even honored me with a short 10-car train rumbling by eight feet away as I ran in the opposite direction. The engineer waved. Eagle Momma worries about trains, wants me to be aware of escape routes in case of a derailment. I think about that anyway; she needn’t worry. Today I would have had to pitch headlong down an embankment to get away if the rumble turned into a CRASH - CRUNCH. No problem, I sure would have. :-) I love everything about trains, including the rush from being that close to so many tons of thundering, hurtling machinery. Today is a masterpiece already! The only thing better is actually riding on the train.

The run wasn’t bad either. Eight miles on the soft trail, then five more on hilly neighborhood roads, all in 1:53:23, pace 8:43. Pace for the first eight 8:39, and for the last five 8:51. I did stop to talk to some guys drilling test holes in the road (to bring city water and sewer to our woebegone neighborhood) and didn’t account for that, so the time might be a slight bit better. Never mind, it’s good enough. This is supposed to be an easy week and I’m playing that to the max.

Temp 34, wind 15 (plenty breezy). I wore tights and two tech shirts underneath a wind jacket; perfect. My sweeties met me on the five-mile leg of the run; that was very nice. A great day to be alive.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Human Race 8k

There is a "common wisdom" in the running community that says a brand-new masters runner gets faster for five to seven years, and then begins to yield to the ravages of age and gradually slows down again. April will be five years, and I was rather hoping that I’d be one of those who might get seven years of improvement in speed rather than five. But if so, today didn’t demonstrate it; I finished in 36:59, a minute and 46 seconds slower than last year. Why is that? Here are some possibilities:

  • Thalidomide: When I took it three years ago I was convinced that it slowed me a little. I did skip last night’s dose, but it may take days or weeks for the effect to wear off completely.
  • Motivation: I won my age group in both the Grand Prix and Runner of the Year last year. It was a LOT of work. Do I need it this year?
  • Just not a great day. Last year it was a great day.
Sweet Pea running in to the finishI think all three. The motivation one bothers me the most, because I really did want to beat my time from last year. But even the first two miles, where I wasn’t tired, I wasn’t able to run as fast as I ran those same miles last year. So there’s something going on besides just motivation.

Whine whine. Third of twelve isn’t bad; I’ll settle for that today! It was a good race, I enjoyed it, and so did my sweeties, who made good times of their own.

I ran hard to the water stop at mile 2.5, then was unable to drink much water because I was breathing so hard. After that I walked for brief stretches. Splits: 7:22, 7:14, 7:36, 7:46, 7:07. Temp 41, wind S at 18. Shorts, LS shirt, wind jacket, ear cover, mitts. Gloves might have been better than the mitts. Breathing: three footfalls per full breath almost all the way.

Easy week coming up, only 30 miles. That’ll be good.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Cool, Crisp Sunrise

St Croix Valley Runners 5 mi in 42:06, pace 8:25. Wonderful day for running, with the sun rising bright orange on the horizon as we ran toward it. How splendid! We did have to make sure to stay out of the way of cars whose drivers might be blinded by that sun, however. Temp was about 20 degrees, nice and crisp, not much wind.

Unfortunately, I felt quite lethargic and clumsy this morning. Is that the thalidomide talking? Or just the effect of 40 miles in the previous week? I’m thinking the thalidomide. I’ll skip tonight’s dose, hoping for a good time in tomorrow’s 8k. Running today: Luke, Jim, Art, myself, Roy, Paul, George, Gauss, & Dave. Also New Dave, who ran for a while with Luke & Jim, then disappeared around mile 3.5 or so. Nobody knows where he went. Those of us who followed behind never saw him. Wrong turn in the Liberty addition? A new runner could easily take one wrong turn there and be quite lost. We did search a little for him by car afterward, but no dice. Sure hope he’s OK!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wonderful Morning

Excellent morning run, outdoors in 30-degree temp, 8.2 mi in 1:05:48, pace 8:01. I always run fast when with my speedy friend Jim. Cloudy, slightly windy, just perfect running weather. A pain-free tempo run in preparation for the big 8k race this weekend, part of the Minnesota Grand Prix.

We chatted much of the way, then settled down to serious running (and breathing) for the last two or three miles, at (I think) a somewhat increased pace. This finishes 40 miles on the week, with just four days of actual running.

Only problem: I didn’t feel like I could have gone much faster today, but I’ll have to go almost a minute per mile faster in that race if I'm to live up to last year's time. Uff-da. But somehow the mind and body respond in a race. I think the thalidomide makes me a little sluggish, so perhaps I’ll skip it the night before that big 8k; Doc says that’s OK.

If you're interested in the latest myeloma news, scroll down to the next-previous post.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bone Marrow Biopsy Results

I saw the oncologist/hematologist today, and got the results from last week’s tests.

The Bad News: The bone marrow biopsy performed last Thusday shows about four percent malignant cells in the bone marrow. This is about double the percentage seen in the previous BMB 18 months ago, despite two recent months of treatment with thalidomide.

The Good News:

  • That means the "doubling time," a measure of the cancer's aggressiveness, is about a year and a half. This has not changed much, and it is a relatively long doubling time.

  • Four percent is still low. The cancer is unlikely to be hurting me yet. In fact, my body might tolerate two or even three more doublings before bones and organs are affected.

  • There are many, many more treatments available. Some may work and some may not, all are toxic in some way, and all eventually stop working. But they offer time.

  • Meanwhile, laboratories around the world are working on new treatments, with a view toward making myeloma a chronic disease, if not a curable one.

  • The MRI of my lower spine shows no injury in the nerves going to my legs. Furthermore, although the peripheral neuropathy in my right leg is still there, it is not getting worse.

  • The CT scan of my skull did not disclose anything that looked like myeloma.

I am continuing to take thalidomide, 50 mg per day. The doctor has modified the regimen, however, from four weeks on and two weeks off, to three on and one off, with monthly monitoring. I’ll see him again in about seven weeks.

Related links:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Beautiful 17 Miles

Seventeen miles outdoors in 2:28:33, pace 8:44 overall. First six in 53:40 (8:57), second six in 52:00 (8:40), last five in 42:53 (8:35). What a beautiful day to run! Partly cloudy, low 40's, just a light breeze. Dress: shorts and two T-shirts, a short-sleeved one and a long-sleeved one (Grandma’s training shirt) with a nice mock turtle collar. Also gloves, ear protection, and a visor. Brooks Burn shoes, as always.

ATTENTION RACE DIRECTORS: Long-sleeve shirts are WAY better if they have turtle-style necks to keep the cold off the top of the chest. And they look better too; it’s the difference between a T-shirt and an actual real shirt that might even be worn to functions other than races.

This run started slowly and got a little easier as the miles clicked by. On the training schedule it was listed as an “easy” run, because it’s the first 15+ miler since the Austin Marathon and because the Human Race 8k is this coming Sunday. It didn’t feel all that easy though; perhaps I pushed a little too hard. But now it’s done and I feel great.

Slight warnings from the knees, especially the right one, doubtless due to the cold; my knees don’t especially like cold running even if the rest of me loves it. Knees are fine now. The left Lisfranc ligament yelped a few times, but settled down. Because of that arthritic ligament it’s easier to make right turns than left, so I ran the Legion loop mostly in the clockwise direction.

Medical test results tomorrow. Life is good, hope abounds.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Another Weekend Double

Local Streets: Lovely outdoor run 6 mi in 53:49, pace 8:58. Lots of icy patches; I took this easy, slowing to a tentative tip-toe in places. What a beautiful day; on the way back there was already water in some places that were ice on the way out. Despite the ice, this is the way a run should be. Nike Miler shoes, for traction. Tights, two shirts, jacket, ear cover, mitts.

Indoor Track: Community Center indoor track 4 mi in 33:19, pace 8:20. Legs felt like lead for the first mile, having run six miles and then rested for an hour. But they loosened up OK and this was a fairly easy run with my sweeties, who ran 5k.

My splits: 9:01, 8:20,8:12, 7:47. I like the last mile - means there was more in the tank. Eighteen miler coming on Tuesday. First of several long runs in preparation for the Avenue of the Giants Marathon in May.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Great Day to Run

Running: St. Croix Valley Runners, 5 mi in 41:02, pace 8:12 min/mi. Lovely, sunny, 30-degree morning, if a little slippery in spots. I ran with Tom the whole way; he was doing the first five miles of a long run in preparation for an upcoming marathon. Luke and Art were out ahead, with George, Roy, Charlie, Dave, Doug, & John behind us. Also, my sweeties braved the slippery conditions, doing a 5k while we did our 5 miles.

No pains, no strain. Tom and I were able to chat fairly easily as we jogged along. Nike Miler shoes (for the good grip), tights and knee protectors, two shirts and a wind jacket. I unzipped the jacket some of the time.

Myeloma: I felt "fragile" after Thursday's bone marrow biopsy, walking and moving quite gingerly. Much better Friday morning, and virtually normal today, Saturday. The BMB is a minor surgical procedure that all myeloma patients undergo from time to time, and this was my third. They do approximately a bazillion lab tests on the marrow and the blood. Next Wednesday, March 14, I'll see the doctor for those results and the results of Tuesday's CT scan and MRI. Then we'll decide on further treatment for the cancer.

Meantime: The nurse/practitioner who took the biopsy advised me not to shower for a few days, to avoid washing contaminants into the surgical wound. But after that run I'm a bit ripe; it's time :=)

Excellent Gateway Support

Gateway 200 ARC Laptop (actually made by Samsung)
This is an unusual post in praise of a GOOD experience with a computer vendor. Last Tuesday the hinge failed on my old Gateway 200 ARC laptop, in such a way that the cover (and screen) would no longer stay up by itself. That hinge originally contained a resistance mechanism that held the cover wherever the user put it, but no longer. The top wanted to flop either forward or backward, making it hard to use the computer.

I got on to see if they would sell that specific part. Not finding it, I clicked on "chat with a tech." Up came an instant-messaging screen. Though I'm embarrassed now to admit it, when the tech took my serial number, he (or she) reminded me that my computer was still under a support contract. Aha! Apparently I had bought a four-year agreement with the computer, thinking that a laptop might be a bit more apt to fail than, say, a refrigerator. An iffy decision at the time, now very good news!

The tech (extremely professional and impersonal) explained that this problem was indeed covered by the warranty, and would be repaired at their service center if I would ship the computer to them. In fact, for $45, I could opt for expedited service where they would send me an appropriate shipping carton and they would pay for air shipping in all directions. I took the deal. Here's what happened:

  • Tuesday afternoon: I had this discussion with Gateway.
  • Wednesday: The box arrived. I inserted the computer and called the shipping company, who picked it up.
  • Thursday: I received an email saying that Gateway had received the laptop, and then another saying that they had repaired it and shipped it back.
  • Friday MORNING: I received the repaired computer.
Not only had they repaired the hinge, but they also replaced the keyboard, which had in fact been getting a little cranky. The computer works as well as it did when new, and I was without it for less than two days.

I think this was REALLY good service. Kudos to Gateway.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

More Than You Want to Know

Three different medical tests in the last two days:

  • MRI of Lower Spine: Examine the nerves in the lower spine to address the neuropathy (falling asleep feeling) that occurs only in the right leg. Thalidomide can cause neuropathy, but it is usually symmetrical.

  • CT Scan of Skull: Learn more about the "lucent lesions" (representing small dense places) reported on the recent x-ray bone survey. These can be caused by myeloma, or maybe I just wandered too close to the Vice President and his shotgun.

  • Bone Marrow Biopsy: This is the gold-standard measurement of the progress of myeloma, the actual tumor burden. A sample of bone marrow and a separate sample of the bone itself are extracted from the hip. It is an outpatient hospital procedure, with normal life resuming within a day or two afterward.

Plasma cells are an important part of the human immune system, producing the immunoglobulins that fight infection and disease. Myeloma is a proliferation of malignant plasma cells.

Two important results from the bone marrow biopsy are the percentage of plasma cells in the blood and the percentage that are abnormal. Normally those are about 2% and 0%. I have had two prior BMB's; last time my numbers were about 9% and 1.5%. When myeloma is at its worst, both numbers can be as high as 80% or 90%. Some doctors say that 10% is the threshhold for Stage 1 myeloma, others say 20%. So far, my myeloma has been below Stage 1, not yet hurting any bones or organs.

The BMB also returns many other results, some of which can be predictive of the aggressiveness of the disease, the speed with which the cancer is apt to grow. Those results have previously shown that my myeloma was only moving at a modest pace. Let's hope these do too. I'll post about it.

Love those people who are close to you, and make today a masterpiece!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Feel-good Run

A very good run! Seems to me that often happens, a bad day is followed by a good one. NSP Community Center 6 mi in 49:12, pace 8:12. Could have gone faster but didn’t want to get hurt on the corners.

Splits: 8:40, 8:13, 8:07, 8:03, 8:07, 8:01. Almost entirely four footfalls per full breath. Slight pain in the left hip, not the bursa. Didn't bother much. This is new, but doesn’t feel like it wil carry forward. I think I slept crooked on it last night; I’m back on thalidomide and sleep like a stone.

Monday, March 05, 2007

14-Mile Struggle

NSP Community Center 14 mi in 2:01:22, pace 8:40 average. It was hard to maintain this modest pace today. The “perceived effort” felt more like an eight-minute pace. Every time I looked at my watch I was a little bit disappointed. Glad it wasn’t a marathon day. But we got ‘er done, and better days will come. In fact this one was free of pain both during and after, plus I got to run with my sweeties again, so what the heck am I complaining about? *grin*

A very recent Runners World article reminds us that our best days are indicators of our genuine capability as runners, and our worst days are nothing other than bad days. And I know why this was a bad day: (1) Not enough food yesterday (too busy to eat!); and (2) not a lot of sleep. Plus I’m a little stressed about health issues I suppose. Plus I battled setup problems on a new Windows Vista laptop half of the day yesterday, the subject of an upcoming post you may be SURE! Grump grump.

Splits: 8:50, 8:27, 8:47, 8:30, 8:51, 8:29, 8:58, 8:29, 8:51, 8:26, 8:56, 8:29, 8:52, 8:27. Water after each even mile, gels at 2, 6, & 10. I’ve always used Clif Shot, partly because it’s organic, but I’m liking GU also because it isn’t quite as thick and therefore is easier to swallow while running and breathing hard. Now that the run is over, I feel GREAT as usual.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Double Runs

Eagle Momma 'KICKING SNOW' yesterdaySt Croix Valley Runners

St Croix Valley Runners 5 mi in 43:10, pace 8:38. Jim, Luke, and Scott up front, followed by Art and myself, then Roy, Dave, and George. Pretty good group for a windy 17-degree day. I love running in the early sun. The trail was far from perfect today, and Art set a pretty good pace, so this was a lot like a race. But I felt great afterward.

NSP Community Center

NSP Community Center 6 mi in 51:43, pace 8:37. Another rare double-run day, but this week’s pre-planned running schedule (my week starts Saturday) has to be adjusted because of some medical tests scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday. The Thursday test is a bone-marrow biopsy, after which I may not feel like running for a couple of days. So I’m front-loading the week.

Because of the morning run I felt weary at the start of this six-miler, but that improved as the laps clicked by. The last miles were the best, and I take that as an indication that there was gas left in the tank at the end. Splits 9:02, 8:56, 8:54, 8:24, 8:22, 8:06.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Is It Getting Scary Yet?

I've taken thalidomide for two rounds now, each 28 days in length. The blood and urine tests, unfortunately, don't yet show much improvement. Serum IgG is up slightly, serum lambda free light chains are up slightly, beta 2 microglobulin is up slightly, ESR is up significantly, x-rays indicate "possible" holes in my cranium, I'm experiencing a little neuropathy in one leg, and albumin is down slightly; all of those are not good.Look very closely to see the other shore of Lake Woebegone

And, for the first time ever, I have light chains appearing in the urine, though a very small amount. However, they are the wrong light chains. They are "kappa," while I have "lambda" light chain disease (one of several forms of myeloma). This is not good, but I’m not sure it’s bad.

On the good side, the M Spike (a good indicator of the total tumor burden) is down 20%, and all of the rest of the CBC and chem results are normal. Aside from a little neuropathy and maybe a few tiny holes in my noggin, I'm just fine! No organs are damaged yet.

But the overall picture begs for more testing. The doctor has ordered: (1) Bone marrow biopsy (my third, very much like getting a tooth extracted from my butt); (2) CAT scan of my noggin; and (3) MRI of nerves in my lower spine to see what can be learned about the neuropathy. Maybe the thalidomide is unmasking an existing condition.

Actually, I'm delighted with these tests; the doctor is being very proactive. Also we're doing one more round of thalidomide. After that we may switch to Revlimid, which is similar to thalidomide but much newer, more potent, and with fewer side effects (read: less neuropathy).

I'll see the doctor in two weeks, more news then.

Related links:

My Myeloma A discussion of my myeloma, not very technical.

Test Result Table Mine. Best with a wide browser window. Very “technical.”

Treatment Table Also mine, not technical. Will be updated ...

Six Great Miles

Norm & Don running & chattingNSPCC Community Center 6 mi in 51:16, overall average pace 8:33. But mile 2 was 11+ minutes because of a phone call from the doctor’s office. Typical pace was actually about 8:00. Very nice!

One of the great things about NOT planning every run is that sometimes I get a surprise. Today, against all common sense, I felt wonderful and ran (for me) like the wind. Maybe it was because friend Norm was there running the last few of his laps when I started the first few of mine. Maybe because I’m a little upset from the doctor’s visit this morning (next post). Maybe because I had a light lunch an hour before. And maybe just because it was a good day. Breathing five footfalls per full breath for two miles, four from then on. Splits: 8:14, 11:38, 7:58, 7:59, 7:51, 7:35. Good last mile.