Today is a special day. First I swam this morning – nothing new or special. I swam 2,500 meters, again typical. I swam my typical 1,000 meter warm up followed by several 100 meter sets. My goal was to glide and take as few strokes as possible without slowing my times. I did well, coming in between 1:58 to 2:02. Good times for me and signs of progress – but nothing extremely special.
Later today I will head back to the gym to lift weights – very typical in my workout routine. I will be lifting with my training partner and friend. She is very special and today is special because she is here to celebrate the sunrise this morning. I just heard from her and she is having a very hectic day. While I feel bad she is having a hectic day, I am still happy she is here to have that hectic day. Eleven years ago today she woke up knowing she had breast cancer and went to sleep that night after having a double mastectomy and was cancer free. When we run the Breast Cancer Marathon and Half Marathon she runs in the survivor category. Last year when we celebrated her 10 year anniversary I realized she is more than just surviving – she is living life to the fullest. She has raised three wonderful children, has a very successful career and among many other things she kicks my butt in running, swimming and triathlon. I still get her on the bike, but her running is strong enough to pass me up. She has been working on her cycling, so I better watch it, she just may take me there too. Talk about motivation, she could easily say her surgery at the age of 35 weakened her and she doesn’t have the energy to workout. Forget that sob story, she is an endurance athlete and is more active than two of her children. So today is special because I get to celebrate the wonderful life she is living with her today.
A few things to know about breast cancer. Much more can be learned at www.breastcancer.org. Breast cancer is diagnosed in 1 out of 8 women (1 out of 1,000 men). About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have NO family history of breast cancer. Only 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are linked to genetic mutations, as is the case with my friend. There are more statistics but I can not stress enough the importance of mammograms and self exams. Both must be done. Self exams are the best way to detect a lump as soon as it appears. Mammograms also detect lumps early but they can detect breast cancers that take form through all of the blood vessels in the breast without a lump. This was what my friend had and a mammogram literarily saved her life. There are approximately 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the US, however about 39,500 women are expected to die this year from it. That is 39,500 too many. Everyone deserves a special day. And lots of them.