As 2020 winds to a close, I am filled with excitement and hope. Like most other people, I sit in amazement that my family and I actually made it through 2020. Looking back at it, I compare the whole experience of the onset of the coronavirus to being thrown in the deep end of a swimming pool and being told to just hang out there until told otherwise. And little did most of us suspect that being told otherwise would never really come. I have never felt this feeling of accomplishment from simply “making it through a year of life”. And yet, as someone who’s been battling metastatic cancer for almost three years, I should probably start feeling that way every year. And I do feel that way this year, more than ever. When I was diagnosed in March 2018, I figured given the fact that the only affected organ of metastasis was the bones that I would probably have a good chance of living beyond the 2-3 year life expectancy of the average metastatic breast cancer patient. But, to be almost three years out with no evidence of cancer in my scans is really amazing to me. If nothing else I suspected I may develop cancer in another area of bone that would cause some disability, but I’m still running! I’m pain-free! Sometimes I can’t believe my good fortune in terms of cancer and with a little light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic, I can honestly say I’ve never been filled with this much hope.
Aside from the obvious pandemic issues of virtual-everything and constant worry about susceptible loved ones and those really suffering from isolation, 2020 has been a challenge for me as it has been with everyone. After completing races in 31 states, I had to cancel one planned trip to complete 3 more states and also give up thoughts of completing more later in the year. We had a family trip to Europe in March cancelled and are still working on getting reimbursed for airline tickets. On top of those disappointments my health did take an unexpected, slight downturn in August when an infection flared up in my ribs and caused countless appointments, procedures, and therapy. Looking back at it, everything went really smooth with the antibiotic treatments and really what better time to be tied down with doctor appointments and a new medication regimen then in a pandemic when you can’t really go anywhere or do anything else? But, I’m glad it’s over; excited to get back on my cancer treatment; excited to plan races again; and just excited and thankful to continue living this crazy life. I am ready to say good-bye to 2020 and welcome 2021, a New Year full of hope!