I was recently asked to update my bio for our new TNT season. I figured it was something that might be worthy of sharing with the masses…
In late 2005, I was starting to have some difficulty swallowing and after ignoring the problem for several months, I finally decided to do something about the situation and made a few appointments. Every emotion ran through me when I learned that a possible tonsillectomy had somehow become a leukemia diagnosis. I didn’t think people like me got “sick”. I had no other signs or symptoms and was looking ahead to a new year of triathlon racing when I was hit with the news.
My doctor advised that I should begin treatment right away. So a month later I began the first of what would be four week long rounds of chemotherapy followed by two years of semiannual preventative treatments. I am one of the lucky ones. My doctor almost immediately referred to me as a “responder”. I hit complete remission between my second and third rounds of treatment which is where I remain and intend to remain.
I made two very important decisions immediately following my diagnosis. The first was to continue to train through and around my treatments and I did so mainly to try to retain some kind of control in a relatively uncontrollable situation. On days that I felt ok, I worked out. On days that I felt strong, I ran home from my chemo treatments. And I did so to also send a message to myself, my loved ones, and my cancer that I had every intention of winning this battle.
The second important decision that I made came only a couple of days after my diagnosis. I reached out to TNT triathlon coach Todd Wiley, told him of my news, and immediately signed on as an assistant coach. By far, this was one of the best and most rewarding decisions that I have ever made. I now have the opportunity to work with so many eager and enthusiastic TNTers as I share my knowledge of a sport that I have been so passionate about for over 20 years. And in return, I take comfort in knowing that these folks are raising funds and awareness for my blood cancer. It’s a partnership that simply doesn’t get any better.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma’s TEAM IN TRAINING program is unparalleled for a number of reasons. We have seen firsthand success stories of how the dollars raised through the program have funded significant developments in research and saved lives. But TNT is more than that. It’s a program that builds relationships and creates lasting memories for each and every participant. It’s a program that builds confidence and self esteem along with an incredible sense of self worth in knowing that by joining “the team”, you are making a difference in the lives of so many – including your own.