On February 17, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which would later be classified as triple positive.
As anyone who has been on this journey knows, the first few days and weeks are a blur of appointments and emotions. As it became clear that I would be losing my hair due to the type of chemo I would be receiving, I knew I wanted to go ahead and have it shaved to save me the emotional trauma of having to see clumps of my long (expensively highlighted!) hair fall out.
I made the appointment knowing my mom would be able to join me. Then to my surprise, my older sister flew across country to be with us as well. During the appointment, my mom asked if I wanted to keep a lock of my hair, but I remember telling her, “that part of my life is over, I need to look forward”.
And for me, looking forward also meant physically moving forward. I was determined to continue running through treatment and joked that I was more aerodynamic with my newly bald head. I live in an area where sidewalks and greenways are readily accessible so I continued to run my bald-headed self on the days that I could, through 6 rounds of TCHP chemo, surgery for a lumpectomy and lymph node removal and 20 rounds of radiation.
I have certainly struggled with aspects of having cancer but for me, losing my hair has not been one of those. In fact, silver linings! Not having hair during a pandemic meant not having to worry about getting to the salon!
While I have completed the majority of my treatment, having triple positive breast cancer means continued immunotherapy infusions every three weeks until May 2021 as well as chemically induced menopause at the age of 42.
Lack of estrogen can contribute to osteoporosis and joint aches but another silver lining? For us ladies running through cancer and menopause, these side effects can be mitigated with running!
So, while I continue to watch my hair grow, I will continue to watch my miles grow too.
Read more Seven Months into the Pandemic essays.