Meniscus Surgery

So, here is the deal. I’ve kept quiet on this until I knew what I was dealing with and had clear direction. I’ve had left knee pain for about 6 weeks now. While the pain is starting to lessen, it’s not healing at the rate it should be. I saw the king of ortho, Dr. Kevin Freedman of The Rothman Institute who ordered X-rays and an MRI. The MRI clearly showed a meniscus tear and cyst. This is actually a good thing as everything else looked great and my knees are apparently younger than I am. Dr. Freedman’s exact words were, “whatever you’re doing, keep doing it”.

The repair of a torn meniscus will be short and sweet with a very quick recovery period. This will put be back  as good as new with minimal interruption to life or training. Dr. Freedman actually did the same surgery on my other knee  in 2008. Back then I was on the bike in a week and running two weeks post op. That was almost 10 years ago. No doubt we’ll be even quicker this time. To say that I’m in really good hands is the understatement of the century. Surgery its scheduled for Monday, May 1st. I’ll keep you posted.

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Forever Young Radio Interview

Last week I did an interview for Forever Young Radio. We chatted about life, family, cancer, and triathlon. Come give it a listen.

Click HERE to listen.

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WCHE Radio Interview

I recently sat down with Tom Kramer of WCHE radio in Philly and chatted it up about all things multisport, life, and cancer. Give it a listen.

CLICK TO HEAR

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Buddha Didn’t Wear a Bib

Here is the first submission of my blog column Mindful Chatter for Movement Sports Magazine.

http://www.movementsportsmag.com/2017/03/25/buddha-didnt-wear-a-bib/

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My New Philly – Organic Living Interview

Here is a recent interview I did with Trisha Graybill for Organic Living on My New Philly.

http://mynewphilly.com/video/stephen-brown-remissionman-organicliving/

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Stay Tuned for Some New News

Many of you might recall that I used to write and edit for a regional endurance sports magazine called Liberty Sports Magazine. We had built up a nice print and online following but due to shifting priorities and a rapidly changing print media landscape, we opted to take a little hiatus.  There was little doubt in my mind that the creative driving force(s) behind this media  concept would eventually retool, regenerate, and return; bigger and better than before.

We’re baaaaaaaack!!

Look for the launch soon of a robust endurance sports media outlet featuring a video channel, heavy social media presence, a digital monthly magazine, with even more surprises in the pipeline. This will be your one stop source of information for all things multisport.

Stay tuned!!!

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Diagnosis Anniversary

Well here we are again… another February 24th. On this day in 2006 my wife and I sat in the office of an oncologist we had just met as we tried to wrap our heads around the diagnosis he had given me: chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This is the one date that is imprinted on my brain more so than any other disease related date. More than my remission dates. More than my relapse dates. My initial diagnosis date of February 24th, 2006 will never be forgotten.

But I’m not here to dwell on anything negative and I’ll be brief. I bring this up simply to acknowledge its relevance in our lives and to stand tall knowing that I continue to fight the good fight and I continue to win. 11 years of living with a chronic cancer has taught me a lot. It’s taught me a lot about myself, about disease and drugs. It’s taught me a lot of about life and how it is in a constant state of change and movement. Nothing ever sits still. It ebbs and flows. You’re on top of the world one minute and then you may bottom out the next. It stinks, and then it’s awesome again. A giant pendulum constantly swings back and forth and brings us all along for the ride. Understanding and accepting that as a universal truth is ¾ of the battle. The ability to savor the highs and buckle up for the lows is the key to a peaceful existence.

Steve Run ChemoBut I’ve also learned that with the right perspective and mindset you usually end up on top. And if lived with an open heart and an open mind, this life is pretty stinking unconditionally awesome – without question. I never rolled over with this disease. I figured out ways that I could make this disease work for me and not against me. And while it is a “disease” and it is a vicious adversary, I think I’ve done a pretty good job of finding silver linings and making it count for something. I think I’ve found ways and reasons to turn my relationship with the adversary into something positive.

To everyone who has touched my heart along the way of this journey, thank you. To all of the caregivers and professionals who have cared for anyone in this community, thank you. To the warriors who are no longer with us, you didn’t “lose” this fight. You made an indelible mark in this word and dealt blows against the disease. The world may have lost you but you didn’t lose the fight. We’ll carry the torch and forge on with you, for you, and because of you and you will forever be with all of us.

FC

Happy 2/24. Life is good.

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The Space Left Behind

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about having lost all four parents. Our lives keep going and the world keeps turning but the space left behind by their loss is never filled. Sure, perhaps you reconcile the loss and eventually make your way through the grieving process and cycle, but the loss still remains. The loss will always remain.

For me it’s as if there are vacancies in my heart that still belong to them. And I don’t want to “fill” those vacancies with anything else. I want that space to be dedicated to their love and memories. I want that space to be available for those fleeting thoughts and emotions that come and go as life’s triggers drive them. I want the memories to know they have a place to call home anytime they want to visit.

I do however try to share that space with positive experiences and things that would make my parents proud. I let light in and I let happiness in, but little else. It’s still their space, but when their memories do come to visit, I want them to see and feel the warmth and positivity of a rich full life and maybe even comment that they like what I’ve done with the place. With their place.

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Teva Pharmaceuticals Presentation

Last week I had the pleasure of telling my story to a group of Teva Pharmaceutical Oncology employees at their annual field meeting. If I could sum up the week in one word it would have to be “meaningful”. For those unfamiliar with the backstory, Teva manufactures the chemotherapy drug Bendeka. Bendeka was the drug I used (with great success) during my recent relapse and chemotherapy treatments. That successful series of treatments led to a great connection with the folks at Teva who then invited us to their annual meeting for me to speak and share my story.

My wife and I made some incredible connections with a great team of individuals who are committed to finding cures and improving the quality of life of those living with chronic cancer.  While I have told my story many times over the years to a wide array of audiences, there is something special about talking to a group of people whose livelihood is so cancer and oncology-centric. I received some great feedback on my presentation and my story in general and more thank yous than I can possibly count.  The Teva family embraced us as their own it was very clear how much they valued us being there.

Group CollageBut the reality is, we are the appreciative ones. Not only did we appreciate the invitation to spend time with the folks at Teva, we are immensely indebted to the work they are doing. I was a mess in 2016 plagued by a myriad of health issues that all ended up being related to my chronic lymphocytic leukemia relapse. Bendeka was my saving grace. Bendeka put me back on the path to remission, recovery, and rebirth. Bendeka allowed me to turn the page to a new beginning in 2017 with restored enthusiasm.

As I said in my presentation, every single Teva employee plays a part. You are all key components of a greater process or assembly line. The difference between you and those manufacturing widgets is that you are saving lives. The end result of your assembly line and process is human life. Don’t ever forget that every single person in your organization contributes to that end result.

To make things even sweeter, I had an oncology checkup upon returning from our trip. Not only was my blood work spot on perfect, I can now stop taking the oral meds  Allopurinol and Bactrim which I have been taking for almost 11 years as preventative drugs against the risks associated with my leukemia and related treatments. AND I do not need to go back in for another three months. I haven’t seen a three month window for well over a year. For all of 2016 I needed to check in with my oncolodoc every one to two months.

So for that and all of the work that you do, I say THANK YOU Teva. You are living, breathing examples of being the change we all want to see in the world.

Happy Dance.

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Wide Open Doors

For quite some time now I have stood by the statement that my leukemia diagnosis has opened more doors than it has closed and created more opportunities than it has taken away. I truly believe that but thought it would be even more enlightening to write down just what some of these opportunities have been. The more I began to think about them, the more abundant the list became. I’ve captured a few of the more meaningful ones below over 11 years of living above and not simply with a chronic form of leukemia. The truth is there are too many people and experiences for our time in this blog but trust me, they are all remembered. I hope you can read deep enough to understand that this disease has given me opportunities to do things that have been very meaningful for me and allowed me to connect with people on a “people” level. It’s given me the chance to know people outside of their respective life stages or arenas and talk about more meaningful things that have proven to be a common denominator for the human race as I know it – like passions and compassion. Every single event below has a direct link to my diagnosis.

For starters, I have to make mention of the incredible and long list of people I have met through my work with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Team in Training. This relationship has truly been life altering as I’ve been touched by so many people through the years. I signed on as a triathlon coach within a week of being diagnosed. And I cherish the relationships I’ve formed with people from all walks of life through this organization. Thank you leukemia.

In 2009 a mutual friend and former fellow goalie by the name of Shep Messing introduced me to a guy named Ethan Zohn. Shep told me that Ethan had just been diagnosed with lymphoma and that we were like-minded and would be good for each other. An instant friendship with Ethan was born and we continue to partner on all kinds of cool things, including life. My connection with Ethan has also enabled me to race the NYC Marathon 6 times and travel to South Africa to race the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in support of his charity, Grassroot Soccer. Thank you leukemia.

Through my association with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society I became connected with a FOX 29 news anchor named John Anderson. John was very active with LLS and this was another connection that quickly became and remains a good friendship. John and I have been able to do some cool things over the years including riding in the American Cancer Society Bike a Thon as well attending the 50 year anniversary celebration of the 1960 Philadelphia Eagles championship season. John’s wife wasn’t particularly excited about attending and thought I would make a much better date and suggested that I go in her place. What a night. I got to hang out with some of the players that I watched as a small boy with my dad and listen to them reminisce about their playing days and talk about their lives. Thank you leukemia.

And on the subject of the Eagles, my experience with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man / Woman of the Year campaign (I was the 2010 winner) drew me to support the campaign of a friend who later ran for Woman of the Year. My support of her then led me to a speaking engagement with several former and current Eagle players. And it was pretty damn cool to stand in front of folks like Brian Westbrook, Doug Pederson, Jon Dorenbos, AJ Feeley, Harold Carmichael, and Conor Barwin as they intently listened to my story and later rallied around me wanting to know more. Thank you leukemia.

My initial diagnosis sparked the idea to publish a book. Once having successfully done so, four more books followed. And I was lucky enough to recruit contributions from folks like Ethan Zohn, Shep Messing, Scott Tinley, Dave Scott, and Vicki Huber Rudawsky. These are all individuals who I admire and respect for a number of reasons who agreed to be a part of my writing process and project.  Thank you leukemia.

When I was first diagnosed and blogged a lot about my experience, I received an email from a woman who applauded my tenacity and told me that I reminded her of her husband Vince who was also a survivor. The email was signed Janet Papale and yes a friendship with the “Invincible” one himself, Vince Papale, and Janet was born. Thank you leukemia.

Also in my blood cancer family is Lauren Hart. Not Lauren Hart the talented recording artist and famous voice of the Philadelphia Flyers, (although she is that and then some). But Lauren Hart the caring and compassionate soul who is very philanthropically involved, has adopted 4 children from Ethiopia and his herself a lymphoma survivor with a vested interested in my health. Thank you leukemia.

And while racing has been a passion for thirty years, my diagnosis has only given me more opportunities to race with an even great sense of purpose. That experience has only gotten better as a result. And through it all I’ve shared my story through countless TV, radio, internet, and print media outlets including an Emmy nominated segment on Comcast Sportsnet written by Gregg Murphy and produced and narrated by John Boruk. All of these experiences, and many more, have allowed me to look at my leukemia as a gift and afforded me the opportunity to be the architect of so many  bridges; connecting people, causes, organizations, and opportunities. Thank you leukemia.

Most importantly, I think I’ve given my family something to be proud of. I think I’ve given them an example of how to find opportunity in adversity and how to turn a potential mess into a message.

For every single person I have touched, and have been touched by as a result of this journey, Thank you leukemia.

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