Friday, June 09, 2006


June 8 was my last radiation treatment. I'm done. I just have follow-up appointments from here.

Here are some photos of the radiation treatments. They were taken with a camera phone, so the quality is not the best.

The first photo shows my lovely mask that helps to keep me from moving and locates my head/neck in the same position each time.

The second photo shows the "field" with the white light on my neck.

The third photo just shows the Radiation Table and Machine.

As of today (June 9), my throat is still very sore and my voice is basically non-existant. I'm not sure how long it will take for it to come back. I have lost some weight with the swallowing problem, about 4 pounds. I'm trying to eat, it is just painful and liquids just don't provide enough nourishment unless I drown myself in them.

By the way, I got to keep the mask from the photos, any suggestions on what I should do with it? Let's keep the answers clean-this is a family show !



Tuesday, June 06, 2006


What a strange looking date we have today.....

Anyway, my voice is almost gone. My neck is bright pink. I am on a liquid diet. I only have 2 radiation treatments left !! One question came to mind last night.......Why me? Only God knows why, but I still need to ask the question it seems. One day I will know the answer I hope.

By the't done much since the May 13. I did swim about a mile on this past Friday at the lake. And I did ride 25 miles on Saturday. That has been it.

Short post today. I need to check Todd's blog to see if he updated it yet.



Monday, June 05, 2006

June 5

Good day to all.

Today I completed radiation treatment number 15 of 18. Only 3 left. The skin on my neck is red and sensitive to the heat, the facial hair in the treatment zone has also fallen out. The biggest complaint I have is the soreness and pain in my throat. It hurts to swallow and it is also sore. Some days it is worse than others. When it hurts more, I have milkshakes and protein drinks instead of solid food.

As I near the end of this treatment, I think back on when this all started some 8 months ago. It seems like it was just last week. I feel fortunate that my cancer was diagnosed early and I'm glad things went as well as they did. It has been a mentally and emotionally challenging time though. But I am a better and stronger person for having to go through it. I hope that others that may be diagnosed with cancer are surrounded with the same kind of people that I have in my life. The support I have seen during this experience has been beyond compare. I suspect that when this treatment is over (Thursday this week) I will be overwhelmed with emotion. I have already felt humbled this week that this bad dream happened to me, but it is nearly gone.

More later this week as I can put it into words.

Ken Smith, Survivor

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Picture from last chemo treatment

Update from May 27. Here is a photo from
April 11 during my last chemo treatment.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

May 25--Update

I started Radiation Treatments on 5/15. I have a total of 18 to do. As of today, I have gone through 9 of them. I am half way !! For the most part, they are very short in duration. I am in and out of there in 15 minutes or less. Go in, lay on the table, get my head strapped down and aimed under the lasers with the watchful eyes of Andrea. She leaves the room, closes the 8 inch lead door and pushes the "Toast" button. She then comes back and re-positions the "radiation cam" and leaves for another dose, only this time, my back side gets it. So far, the only side effects that I currently have are a sore throat and the skin on my neck is beginning to get sensitive and pink. I am supposed to stay out of the sun as much as possible to keep the skin on my neck from being irritated more than necessary.

Also, on Monday this week, I had my chemo port removed. That took Dr S about 30 minutes or so to do in his office. I was pretty sore that afternoon and evening and had to take a couple of pain killers that night. But none since then. It sure is nice to have that foreign body out of my chest !!

Click here for some photos of the race

Thats all for now.


Ken Smith
Survivor !

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sometimes we just get a little lazy

Today is May 16, 2006. I apologize for not updating this blog. I have no excuse.

Readers Digest Version:

April 6th-Longest run so far for me-9 miles, --->TV news story<---(click here) !
April 7th---->Newspaper Article<---(click here) !

April 8th-Iceman Sprint Triathlon-Tom put me as the first swimmer in the water and my race number was number one ! Very Cool--Thanks Tom! It was a very emotional race for me. It was impossible to hold back the emotions during the last mile of the run and at the finish line.

April 11th- Last Chemo Treatment ----YES !!

April 19th-started swimming again--feels great to be in the water again.

April 23rd-Another longest run 10 1/4 miles !! Felt strong-could have kept going. Feel very positive about the 1/2 Ironman coming up !

Race Day not far off !! Only 20 days till Florida. With Chemo behind me, I am starting to pick up on the training where and when I can.

The wetsuit is ordered. I have finalized my fueling and hydration strategy for the race.

Continue with massages every 2 weeks with Pauline and visits to Dr Dave for any adjustments to my joints and my mind. They are both awesome and I do see a benefit.

April 30--training distances and intensity is starting to be reduced as we begin tapering for the race ! How sweet it is.

May 9-The bike has been put in the trailer for it's trip to Florida with about 30 other Dallas Athletes bikes.

May 11-My family and I begin the trip to Florida for the race, me in the morning and the rest of the family that afternoon.

Race packet pick-up. Number 1238 is my race number.

Swim in the ocean-first time I swam out in the ocean, and with a wetsuit ! It was great. I didn't realize there were going to be hills on the swim course (many swells to swim through) as the water was a bit rough.

May 12-One day till race time. I prepare my fueling and hydration per my plan and pack my tranistion bag for the race.
May 13-Race morning. I was up at 4:30. Ate some breakfast Took in about 500 calories. My start time for the race is 7:10. Took my transition bag down to the transition area. Put everything out like I wanted it. Went back to the room to get ready for the swim.

Wetsuit on.

Down to the beach to wait with the rest of the team for the start.

I am starting in the 12th wave of racers. It was tough waiting that long as I was ready to go. But before I knew it, my turn to go. Off I go on the swim. The swim went well for me. I have always been fortunate since high school with strong swim stroke. I finished the 1.2 mile swim in about 31 minutes.

Into the transition area for T1 (get ready for the bike ride). My time here was longer than I thought, a little over 7 minutes. Didn't seem like that long. Oh well.

On the bike, my plan was to keep my heart rate at 150 or lower, regardless of speed. I did just that. The 56 miles went by very quickly and before I knew it, I was at mile 40. Then 56. I averaged 19.2 MPH and 2 hours and 55 minutes or so. Toward the end of the bike, I began to feel like I might have over-hydrated some-a little bloated.

T2 (bike to run transition) went by in about 3 minutes or so. I wanted to make sure I did not forget my fuel for the run.

On the run, I felt very strong. The first 3 miles went by very quickly. I continued to take in fluids at every aid station, mostly gatorade. I also poured cold water on my head to help stay cool. By the half way point, I still felt strong. I had been able to keep my heart rate down at 160 or lower withyout any trouble. By mile 8, I noticed that my right knee was beginning to heart a little. (About 9 days prior to the race, it also began to hurt some during a run). I just kept on going. I knew I could rest my knee after the race. About that same time, I began to develop some cramping in my intestines. This was not a good sign. I began to think I might need to find a bathroom pretty quick. A couple of minutes later, the cramping quit. Every 10 minutes or so, the cramping would come back, last for minute or two, and then stop. I just had to walk when the cramping started. At mile 11.5 or 12, I saw Tom Ryan on the scooter. He pulled up next to me and we discussed how things were going, and he mentioned the finish line was about a mile down the road, and thatg there was a ton of people waiting for me. That was all I needed to help push me to the finish. I began to pick up the pace just a little. The lastg aid station was about 3/4 of a mile from the finish. One last cool splash of water on my hat and picked up the pace a little more. I started to visualize the finish, with my family and fellow Dallas Athletes there. It seemed to give me a little burst of speed. The next thing I knew, I could see the finish line and my wife and two my daughters. The second I saw them, I wanted them to cross the finish line with me. I greabbed their hands, and jogged the last few yards together and crossed that line.

I had just finished a 1/2 Ironman Triathlon. It took 6 months to get there, 210 miles of running, 1076 miles of biking, 15,530 yards of swimming, a cancer diagnosis, 8 treatments of ABVD chemotherapy, countless medical visits, tests, and copays, 2 surgeries, lots of emotional stress. But I did it. I couldn't have done it without the support of my wife, my daughters, my family, my friends, my fellow athletes and friends at Dallas Athletes, and strength the Lord gave me to do all this.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

March 27, 28 and 29

Monday--I took today to rest from the hard workouts this weekend. I have chemo tomorrow--treatment number 7 of 8....almost done.

Tuesday--My back was sore and stiff last night with some low back pain. I decided not to run this morning. Went to work for a few hours and then off to chemo. When I got to the doctors office, I had my blood counts checked. They were the lower than they had been anytime during the treatment so far. The Dr. decided to reduce the dosage of 2 out of the 4 drugs and to not give me one of the others at all. The PET scan I had done last week came back clean. That is great news. Now just finish the treatment plan.

It’s amazing how the body/mind anticipates things. When I walked into the cancer treatment center today, I immediately began to feel nauseated. The Pavlovian response is very strong for me in this treatment I guess. As this 7th treatment began, I asked Sharon to get me one of my nausea pills. They nurses at the cancer center also give an IV for nausea during the chemo. The 3 hours of infusion seemed to take forever. I did manage to sleep a little. I sipped on some water during the treatment and did eat a cookie and a small bag of chips. IU wasn’t hungry, I just wanted to soothe my stomach and maybe stop/reduce some of the sick feeling.

After the treatment, I was walking out to the car with Sharon, and I had a little meltdown. I guess it was the “I am so tired of feeling sick from these treatments” to the “I only have to do this one more time” feeling. I couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down my face. I am so ready to be finished with this and put this bad dream behind my family and me. I am so blessed to be surrounded by those who deeply care. My wife Sharon and my two daughters, my mom and dad, and my sister’s and their families. My extended family of Dallas Athletes has also been a great source of support and motivation as I go through this.

Wednesday—I do not feel like going to work today, so I plan on staying home and working some. I feel a little better than I expected, probably due to the reduced chemo drugs this time around. I will probably go for a walk later today.

Looking forward, this weekend I hope to work out with the group if I feel better by then. April 8 is the Iceman Triathlon in Southlake. It is a sprint (or short distance) event. I plan on doing this event. Three days later, April 11, will be my last chemo…….

Keep pushing forward…..


Monday, March 27, 2006

March 24, 25, 26

Friday--Woke up this morning feeling a little better with regards to my back pain. Went to work. Had some blood work done-CBC (various blood count number) is basically normaly today. I will attribute this to plenty of excercise, daily multi-vitamin, and good, balanced diet. I did go see Pauline today. She found knots in my back I didn't know I had. I'm not sure what I did that caused these knots. I also noticed that some of my ribs were a little sore. I must have bruised them a little during Yoga or something. She did get my back loosened up though.

Saturday--Up nice and early for the 4 hour bike ride. Dean and myself ended up riding out near Robson Ranch and back for a good 61 mile ride. Thanks Dean. I know he could have dropped me pretty easliy on some of the climbs. I hope I wasn;t holding you back Dean. Thanks for waiting. Streched afterwards outside in the beautiful sunshine we had. I guess I should have worn hat though. My bald head got a little sunburn for the hours or so we were out there streching and talking. What a great day though. Really enjoyed the ride. Iwas very tired that night, slept very well though.

Sunday--Today we had a two hour bike ride and followed by a 45 minute run. The wind was pretty bad. On the bike, we left in a group of about 15 or so. It wasn't long that the group pulled ahead and I couldn't keep the pace. The result was a wonderful ride with Barb and Erika. Thanks ladies !! Once we got back from the ride, it was time for a 45 minute run. Barb and I did the run together. I wanted to stop several times and catch my breath, but the ego thing kept me running with her. I don't think she realized she was pushing me, and of cours being male I would nevewr admit to it (until now). Thanks Barb......

The rest of the day I was pretty tired. I mowed the yard as some of the weeds were taller than our kids. I think I also took a short nap in there somewhere also.

Erika also brought some dinner to our house. Since this is chemo week coming up, she new that it is usually a very difficult week and cooking is hard for my lovely wife to fit in with me in a pretty much useless state. Thank You Erika !! It is much appreciated.

My second to last chemo is this coming tuesday. Not looking forward to it, but I only have two more.......I can do this two more times..

Remember to keep Kristin V and her family in you prayers......



Thursday, March 23, 2006

March 22 and 23

Wednesday--My low back has been bothering me quite a bit. Not sure what is going on. Did not do any training today. Trying to listen to my back. Not sure if I should run in the morning or not. This pain in my low back seems familiar like sciatica. Usually some strecthing and an adjustment (by Dr Dave of course) will do the trick. I'll try and set something up with him tomorrow.

Thursday--Woke up early enough (4:30) that I decided not to run, but to go to a Bikram Yoga (or hot yoga) to try and stretch/re-align things. It seemed to work the last time my back was bothering me.............Yoga this morning was good. Seemed to help stretch the sore muscles out. I would also say it has helped the low back also. Although I think a visit with Dr Dave is still in order..........Was a mess today was at work. No time to call Dr Dave and schedule something. Tomorrow is Friday and I am seeing Pauline again for a massage. That should also help. Did I mention massage is a good thing ? Anyway.......Thank You Pauline for all you do.......

Remember to keep Kristin V and her family in you prayers......

More Later, Ken "you're doing what while undergoing chemo" Smith.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

March 18, 19, 20 and 21

Saturday--finally started feeling better late in the day. Still did not do any training. Just watched the rain happen.

Sunday--Woke up feeling a little better. Ate some breakfast. around 10:00 am, put Zathura in and watched it with the rest of the family, while I also rode the trainer for 60 minutes. Didn't work it to hard, but did sweat a ton. My appetite is also back with a vengance. I lost about 3 pounds in the last few days since the last chemo. I should get them back fairly easy.

Monday--Felt good, although my back is sore. I wouldn't think an hour on the bike/trainier would cause that. Most likely from not doing anything for 6 days is the culprit.

Tuesday--Did not sleep well last night, only 4 1/2 hours. Decided not to run at the track this morning and try and sleep--didn't work. I did run 5 miles easy after work. Once I was done, felt very strange for a short while. Maybe the fatigue or something. Not to long after I was done, my back went into spasm/lockdown. every muscle in my back got tight. Finally ended up taking a muscle relaxer and a pain killer, hot shower, and bed. Slept all night very well.

Side Note--A close friend of mine and fellow Dallas Athlete -Kristin V, suffered the loss of her sister in a tragic auto accident on Sunday. Surviving the crash are a husband and an almost 1 year old son. Please pray for the strength and healing of this family in this tragic loss.

Life is a fragile and precious thing that many of us take for granted. Take the time to show the people in your life that they are important to you...........


Friday, March 17, 2006

March 17-St Patrick's Day

Happy St Patrick's Day to all.

I did get up and go to work today, although I still do not feel very well. This seems to last a little longer each time. My wife remimded me last night, that although this is tough, things could be worse, and that many others in this same battle do have it worse than I. We must count our blessings. God bless all who fight this battle.

It appears that the weather this weekend is going to be wet and rainy. This is good from the standpoint that we need the rain, but bad from the cycling standpoint.

A word to those friends of ours about to compete in the California 1/2 Ironman. Good luck to you. You have trained long and hard, now Git'r Done !!


Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Survivor Movie

Survivor Movie-I saw this link and thought I should add it to the blog.

March 13, 14, 15, and 16

Monday--I took this as a rest day and mentally preparing (if that is possible) for another chemo treatment.

Tuesday--chemo #6 of 8 was today. I went to work before hand for a few hours to pass the time. chemo was as usual, gave blood for analysis, saw the doc, got chemo drugs, felt terrible and went home to bed. I guess the good part is, only 2 left. Although I am plowing through this, it is hard to stay positive about this all the time.

Dr Dave D called and left a message on my cell phone this evening. He was just checking on me and wanted to pass something along to me. He said that he was on a long run on Sunday, and was having a tough time with it. He thought about me and my battle, and it motivated him to keep going during his run. I don't think I am conveying his words exactly, and I may also have been emotionally tired from the day, but his comments brought tears to my eyes. I got to thinking about some other people who have also said similar things through the previous weeks..Mike, Todd, Tom, Dan, Kathi, Jacob, Guy, Kristin, and so many others......I am truly blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful people that enjoy the workouts, sweat, and hard work as I do and still find me to be a motivating factor and to offer the support that they do. Thank you one and all......Dallas Athletes Rocks !!

Wednesday--I stayed home from work today, although I did do some work from the house (isn't technology a wonderful thing). Really did not feel well all day long. I was light headed this time more than I remember. The same old feeling in the stomach, not hungry, food has no taste. I ate some today, not because I was hungry, but because I new I needed the nourishment.

Thursday--I got this morning feeling a little better, but not well enough to go to work. I did some work from the house again. It's kind of strange that one minute I feel pretty good, and the next I feel light headed and sick again. Kinda goes back and forth. I went for a walk around the block a little earlier, what a beautiful day. I wish I felt like riding or running. I should feel a little better tomorrow.

I can do this 2 more times. I can do this 2 more times. I can.......



Monday, March 13, 2006

March 10, 11, an 12

Friday--took a day of rest today. I wanted to let my legs rest some from my longest run ever on Thursday. I did go see Pauline today for a much needed massage. She is so great.

Saturday--I woke up early today, around 5:00 am and couldn't go back to sleep. So I got up and started fueling for the 4 hour bike ride that was scheduled for the day. Watched a little of the news and headed out the door. I felt pretty good as the morning got started. The group headed out for the first hour at 7:00 am. After warming up, the group seemed to take off at a pretty good pace. I kept up with them for the first 1/2 hour, and then started losing ground. I settled back in with a few others that were also not going quite that fast. One thing I am noticed today was that I am having a harder time climbing the "hills" today. Not that we have huge hilss in this area. Inclines that I could previously ride without to much difficulty, just seem a little harder today. I assume this is fatigue from the chemo.

We arrived back at the Dallas Athletes store after the first hour and re-grouped with some of the others riders that are not part of the 1/2 Ironman program. I decided to head out with a group that was going out for 2 hours. That would put me at 3 hours for the day, and then I would decide after that whether or not to go for the 4th hour.

This 2 hours wasn't much different. We headed out from Coppell towards the Bartonville area. There are some climbs along the way. Agian I had more trouble with the climbs than I have had in the past. I have a triple chain ring on my back which gives me some "granny" gears which means a lot of mechanical advantage for climbing, but you don't go very fast. Anyway, several times I had to get into those gears and use them, and it was all I could do to climb those hills. Needless to say I got dropped fairly quick after getting into those hills. Fortunatly, fellow Dallas Athlete Tori had not ridden for a while and she was also having some difficulties as well. Although she could have dropped mevery easily. She waited on me several times. Thanks Tori. So I didn't have to ride alone.

Got back to the store after 2 hours. That gave me 3 hours worth of riding and 52 miles. I was done. I stretched with a group that was already back (ok so it was Yoga) for 20 minutes or so. Then went home and ate some lunch and took a nap. I was toast.

Sunday--Got up and met the group for a 2 hour ride that was to be followed by a 40 minute run. The ride was tough, we were fighting a very strong wind. Seemed like 20 mph with 30 mph gusts at times. I held on as long as I could, again having trouble with the hills. The group was allowing us stragglers to catch up. After an hour, Dan "The Man" Jones and our fearless leader Tom "The Wind is your Friend" Ryan and I turned back as the rest of the group went on.

We had a balzing time on the way back with a tail wind pushing us at 25-28 MPH for a good long stretch. We got back extremely fast. Then did a little stretching and off I went for a 40 minute run. I ended up walking some of the 40 minutes. I was just tired. Afterwards, stretched for a few minutes and went home to shower, eat, and take a much needed nap.

More Later.


Friday, March 10, 2006

March 8 and 9

Wednesday--I got up and ran an easy 4 miles this morning knowing that the Thursday run would be long. NOt much else happening today. Feeling pretty good though.

Thursday--I woke up this morning at 4:15 to the sounds of rain and some thunder. My first thought was that the run was canceled. Wrong ! I got up anyway and checked the radar on the interent and it showed a very narrow band of showers passing by the DFW airport. Well the run is not far form there and it looked like it would done raining in that area in the next few minutes. I waited a few minutes and then decided to go. I drove over to the meeting location and pulled into the parking lot. As I pulled in I saw several others waiting to start, I had pulled into the parking lot as they were ready to leave. I leaned over in the car to tie my shoe, and when I looked back up again, they were gone. I had to hustle to catch them, which I did. 84 mintes and 8.25 miles later, I was done with the run and back at the starting point. That was the longest distance I have ever run. I have been slowing inching that distance up.

The run was a little tough getting started, probably because I had to go faster than normal to catch the group before warming up at a slower pace. The last 2-3 miles of the run felt very good. It was at a good pace for me and it felt like I could have kept going, at least for another mile or so. I did notice my shins hurting a little at the beginning of the run. Towards the end, the felt ok. The rest of the day they felt sore. I iced them for 15 minutes each before retiring for the night. Tomorrow is Friday and will be a rest day for me. Saturday will be a big cycling day and Sunday will have a bike/run brick in store. Looking forward to it.

In talking with different people, I sometimes question why I am doing this training while fighting cancer and undergoing chemotherapy? And also, how am I able to do this training while fighting cancer and undergoing chemotherapy? The answer is simple. Back before I was diagnosed, I had set a personal goal to do this 1/2 Ironman. After the diagnosis, I still had my personal goal, but-I want everyone one to know that even with a cancer diagnosis and treatment, it is still possible to carry on an active lifestyle, test yourself mentally and physically and do the things you want to do. I also firmly beleive that all of this physical activity is helping me to battle this cancer and also making me a stronger person. Are there tough days? You bet! Especially the 3-4 days (for me anyway) following a chemo treatment. But I know this cancer and treatment will be gone before long, and that as each day passes after a treatment, I feel better. 5 treatments down and 3 to go !! Bring it on ! ! !

I'll Be Baaaack !!


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

February 27 thru March 7

February 27—took a rest day after the big brick yesterday. Felt good though.
February 28—Ran 8 miles at the track this morning. Was able to hold 6:30 on 6x1200. The run felt good and strong. Today is chemo treatment #5. In speaking with the Doctor today, we decided that since my cough had improved (but not totally gone) and my run was feeling pretty strong, that we would continue with the Bleomycin (boy I hate that word-makes me nauseous just to say it) for one more treatment and then review it again. I had a CT scan on the 2/23 and we discussed the results from that. It really did not show anything to be alarmed about, but he is going to forward it to another Radiologist for review and compare it to the CT scan I had done back in November when this all started. Good plan I think ! Blood Work-my white counts were low today, low enough that the Doctor decreased the dosage of 2 of the 4 chemo drugs. He did this to allow my counts to come back up some. I had a tough time during treatment today. I felt pretty sick to my stomach and had to take something for it so I wouldn’t “lose my lunch”. That made me sleepy, but helped with the situation. Afterwards, I went home and was in bed by 6:00 or so. Slept pretty good all night.
February—Oops, I mean March 1—Felt pretty yukky today. Pretty typical for the day after. Went to work to stay busy. I would rather be busy at work than stay home and lay around. The days following chemo are typified with no appetite (but I still eat). Foods with salt or sugar, well all foods-taste bland. They smell fine, I just can’t taste them. Drink lots of water to help keep my kidneys flushed out and the rest of my digestive tract.
March 2 thru March 5—We traveled to Phoenix for a wedding. I did not feel well (chemo) and took naps when I could. I really did not feel like running until Sunday, but then did not have time as we traveled home. My cough was back some, but not to the same level as a couple of weeks ago.
March 6—Took a day to catch up on work and sleep.
March 7—Ran at the track this morning. The run workout was tough since I hadn’t done anything in a week. I did run a total of 7 miles. The tough part of the workout was 4x1600 w 400 recovery. I tried to hold a pace that was to fast and ended up having a lot of trouble holding pace. I plan on running an easy 4 miles in the morning. I miss my Stuffer Kitty……More Later….. Ken

Monday, February 27, 2006

February 25 and 26

Satruday--This was a diffucult day at the Smith household. Our family cat of nearly 15 years died today. She had some dental work done on Thursday and was unable to recover from the anesthesia. I will miss "Stuff" as we called her. We don't realize how important our pets are until suddenly they are gone. The things I would do everyday and things she did everyday are suddenly gone. I'll miss her sleeping by my side every night. I'll miss her meowing for her food every morning. I'll miss her waking me up way to early with that loud purr of hers. I'll miss the way she followed me around the house. I'll miss her sitting on my lap every night while we relaxed and watched TV. I'll just miss her.

No training on Saturday.

Sunday--Excellent weather, excellent workout. 3 1/2 hours on the bike and 58 miles. Follow that up with 60 minutes of running and 6 miles. Followed by some needed re-fueling and stretching. What a brick. Fabulous.

Friday, February 24, 2006

February 23 and 24

Thursday--CT Scan was done in the morning of just my neck area. They are looking for a "response" to the chemotherapy. I can give you a response.......Not Fun. I probably won't hear any results until Tuesday 2/28. That is the next chemo and the next time I see the Dr.

I was bad and did not run like I said I was going to. It was a very busy day. One of our family cats had surgery on some bad teeth. I have had this cat for well over 14 years. She needed my attention. I could tell she wasn't feeling well after the surgery and into the night.

Friday- -I ran 6.9 miles this morning, about 70 minutes worth. I felt better during this run than the run on Wednesday. I'm ready for this brick this weekend if the weather will behave. (For those that don't know what a brick is, it is a combination of either a bike/run with no rest in between, or swim/bike or a run/bike or get the idea)...

My sister is in town this weekend from Kansas. I really enjoy when she can come to town. I don't normally get to see her that often. She has been very supportive through this diagnosis and treatment, just as the rest of my family has. I can't neglect to mention Sharon. She has been with me every minute of the way, from tests to surgery to treatment to taking care of me at home. She has been there every minute and not complained once.......awesome !! I am a very lucky perosn to have her as my wife.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

February 21 and 22

Tuesday-I wasn't able to make the track workout this morning. I needed the sleep, was exceptionally tired. I did get a 60 minute run on the treadmill completed after work though. I don't really spend much time on the treadmill, but it seems to be harder to hold the same pace on the treadmill vs running on the street...?

Chemo treatment update--I spoke with the Oncologist. They (he and some other Doctors and Teaching Fellows) have decided to remove the Bleomycin from the chemo treatments. This is good from the standpoint of my lungs. I know I have lost some lung diffusion capacity. This should prevent any further loss and I'm hopeful I will regain some of what I lost over time as the "Pulmonary Toxicity" goes away (I hope). Next chemo treatment is Feb 28 and will be AVD, not ABVD. This will be treatment number 5 out of 8. I'm on the backside of the chemo !! I think my cough is also improving-maybe thats a good sign that the lungs are starting to recover..

Wednesday--Ran 60 minutes this morning and got in 5.9 miles. I need to build this run thing up some more. As Tom R says, "It all comes down to the run". I am going ot focus more on the run. Sharon and I are going to Hot Yoga tonight. Looking forward to that.

I won't be running Thursday morning, I have a CT Scan scheduled. I'll run Thursday evening I guess.

More Later---Ken

Monday, February 20, 2006

February 18, 19 and 20

Saturday morning-went to the velocity workout. Had a tough time. Seemed like my heart rate and breathing were thru the roof. I wouldn't think it's from not doing anything for 8 days, but that certainly didn't help. I have to beleive that it is mostly from the "B" in the chemo treatments messing with my lungs. Anyway, it was a great workout. My legs are still sore as of this writing (2/20)

After that, I went to a hot Yoga class. This was the first time I had ever done any kind of Yoga. When I say "hot Yoga", I don't mean there were hot chicks there (although there were some), I mean hot te,perature like 90-100 degrees. Ninety minutes of posturing, stretching and sweating. Did I say sweating? Sweating doesn't quite capture it. Maybe I should use the word leaking, yea, that's it....I was leaking perspiration. What a workout. It was great and definitely a challenge. Bikram Yoga of Grapevine. is the place. I highly recommend it. I'm hoping this will do several things for me. From improving my always problematic back to flushing out chemo drugs from my body to minimizing the side effects.

Sunday-I went back for another hot Yoga class. Beyond that, I hung out with the family and we went a saw the Little Mermaid put on at a local theatre (Studio B in Lewisville on Justin Rd). It was fun and the girls really enjoyed it.

Monday-another hot Yoga at 5:30 this morning. Again, a great release.

One last thing before I close..I wanted to hear a little from someone that had fought the cancer battle while trying to keep Tri-training in the picture. Karen Smyers is a person who has done that. Now she did not have Hodgkin's or have the same treatment, but it was cancer, and it was defintely a battle.

Here was her first e-mail to me:

Hi Ken,
Gosh, I am really sorry to hear about your diagnosis. News like that is just such a shock to an athlete. I am glad that you are setting out goals for yourself though. I found that that really helped me look forward and stay positive about the present. However, you have to be flexible, too--I set many goals for myself that I wasn't able to attain and sometimes had to give up (temporarily) on their attainment depending on how I was feeling. I don't know what your treatment will entail (chemo?) and how devastating it may be to you physically so you can't really use me as a guide but I can give you a few "tips".

I had thyroid cancer and the treatment consisted of surgery to remove the whole gland, another surgery 9 months later to remove more lymph nodes, and a one-time radioactive iodine treatment. I bounced back from the surgeries fairly quickly (the doc had me somewhat on restricted activity for 2-6 weeks mostly just to let the incision heal fully). But the radioactive iodine ended up knocking me for a bigger loop than expected. I had it done the beginning of Sep and hoped to do the IM that october but it was clear that my body was not up for the training. I ended up taking the rest of the fall very slowly and gradually built up over the winter as my strength came back. (I think it was that my stomach lining was damaged by the RAI and so I wasn't absorbing nutrients well. Consequently, I could train OK for a couple of days but then would get really wiped out since I couldn't recover while not absorbing nutrients. I am lucky that a bout of giardia (sp?) years ago helped me recognize what was going on and I was educated enough not to push through it--that is what can lead to longer term malaise. So I tried to listen to what my body was telling me during the comebacks and "coax" it along without forcing it beyond what it was capable.

So, by all means set goals and keep up the training when you can. But you have to get your health back, too, so don't do things to slow down the process. There were many days when my exercise for the day was a walk to the end of the street and back. And I appreciated it since there were days I was just in a hospital bed! Just focus on what you can do and try to make forward progress when possible.

Having the sport of triathlon as a passion in my life helped me get through some hard times for sure--I hope it does the same for you. There is nothing like a good training session to start gaining confidence in your body back after a scare like your disease. GOOD LUCK and keep me posted on how you are doing.
Karen Smyers

Shortly after that, I created the Blog to keep everyone updated. I sent her a link to the blog and she sent back....

I really like your blog--I am sure it is therapeutic to write down all your feelings and thoughts like that and it can be helpful for others going through similar things. I recognized a lot of your thoughts and emotions from my experience ("How can I have cancer and feel this good?" was my thought after I finished the Ironman in 99 in 2nd place while knowing I probably had cancer.) Keep it up and take it one treatment at a time--the body is an amazing thing in its ability to bounce back--as long as you have a strong mind as well!

All the best,
Karen Smyers

Thank you Karen for sharing your story and allowing me to share it with others. You, like so many others, are providing me with strength to keep fighting the battle till I am victorious.

Friday, February 17, 2006

February 17

A massage is a good thing. Just thought I would share that with everyone. I saw Pauline today-my guardian angel ! The massage was wonderful. By the way, she is a birthday girl.....wish here happy birthday if you get the chance.

Feeling Great today !!

Well, I was all set to swim this weekend, but I understand the that won't happen due to a water polo thing at the pool.......and of course mother nature is not coopertaing with the run, bike thing outdoors-unless you have good timing do avoid the rain. I heard a suggestion about Velocity and Hot Yoga that sounds yummy. I need to work off those Brownies that Kathi W dropped off yesterday---Thanks Kathi-they're wonderful. You Rock Elaine !!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

February 15 and 16

Well, finally feeling like normal again. Well almost. I exeprienced something new today with my vision which I will assume has something to do with my chemo treatments (but I could be wrong). I was at work, sitting at my desk, when my left eye vision went gray in the center of my field of vision. It stayed that way for 20 minutes or so. I had to get up and walk around, thought I was straining my eyes or something. But I really could not see out of my left eye. Then it came back. I called the eye doctor and then went to see him. My eyes looked normal to him. Based on my description, he feels like it was some kind of opthalmic migraine ? Oly I had no pain.

Back to the training. I haven't done any since last Thursday. I plan on running tomorrow and trying to ride or spin this weekend somehow-the weather is supposed to be nasty, wet, and cold. I'll keep everyone posted. But I have a feeling it will be treadmill and trainer this weekend.

Everyone have a nice weekend.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

February 14

Happy Valentines Day !

Well I didn't go to the track this morning, just didn't feel well. I also didn't go to work until 1:00. Stomach has been bothering me some all day, and I was also light headed quite a bit today. Not sure if that is from the chemo (4 days ago) or if it is from not taking in the calories like I normally do. It's not that I'm not eating, just not eating near as much or as often. I'm hoping that day 5 will be better. I think I'll go for a 10-20 minute walk when I get home. Maybe that will help work out some of these chemo drugs. The sick feeling just comes and goes as it pleases.

And now for a comment about all of you who are reading this. I am truly amazed at the support I am getting from friends, family and others I don't know, but share common interests. Thanks to all of you for your kind words and support. I look forward to opening this blog everyday (sometimes more than once) and looking for new comments. It's like an energy boost for the soul to see the support from so many. Thanks to Todd, Cathy, Donna, Candy, nancytoby, Kris, Holly, Shelly, Flatman, jsoulnh, Iron Benny, Nita, Linae and so many more. You all ROCK !


Monday, February 13, 2006

February 11, 12, 13

Good morning. Woke up this morning after a somewhat uncomfortable night. Not feeling well this morning. I think I will stay home from work for a while. This will be the first time I missed work from not feeling well. I have missed work for appointments and so forth, but not from feeling like crap.

I didn't get to work out any this weekend. Of course, the weather wasn't very inviting anyway with the wind and cold temps.

I notice I have comments from folks all over the country and in Canada. I love the comments and words of encouragement. They really help. Keep'em comin.

I plan on running tomorrow morning at the track. See you there.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

February 7 through February 10

This was a tough and anger filled week. Tuesday morning I went to the track workout. It felt good to run. We had the 10 x 400 to run foloowed by an 18 minute run. Dan the man Jones ran with me for the last 6 of the 10x400 and then did the 18 minute run with me also. I enjoyed the company. I was scheduled for 4th chemo treatment on later on that day. I should also mention that I have also had a persistant cough for the last 3 weeks. After I got to the cancer center for my appointment, the port in my chest was accessed for a bllod sample. Then it was time to see the doctor. He said he wanted to postpone this treatment so I could get another Pulmonary Function Test (PFT). His wanted to be cautious since I have had this cough for so long. One of the drugs that is part of my treatment is Bleomycin ( in case you are curious). One of the side effects in 10% of the patients is damage to the lungs. Just the kind of thing an endurance athlete likes to hear !! Anyway, that was scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Wednesday morning rolled around I was just going to work from home for and hour or so until it was time for the PFT at the hospital. Now I'm not an angry person, or one to lose my temper, but something snapped inside of me that morning before the appointment. The next thing I knew, I was madder than a wet hornet and found myself in the garage taking out my anger on several inanimate objects. Needless to say, I won. (I guess I should fix that big hole in the wall that the trash can made sometime) I came back in the house. By now, I could see the concern and fear in Sharon's eyes. I hugged her and told her that I was not angry at her, just what was happening. I told her I was not going to have the PFT today and I was done with chemo and I was going to work.

Next thing I knew, I was at work (still very angry) and the Doctor called and wanted to know what he could do to help. We discussed things for a while and I expressed my anger and frustration and that I was tired of not being in control and that I wasn't having the test. He suggested I think about it and give them a call later today and re-schedule the test.

Later that afternoon, I called and rescheduled for a Thursday test. I was still very angry. After work, I came home. Had dinner. Then let Sharon know that even though they want me to stay out of the water, I was going swimming with the Dallas Athletes that night. Again I was taking charge of whart was happening in my life. I still had a lot of anger inside.

I went to the swim and saw a lot of the friendly faces of the DA group. It felt good to swim. Swam 2800 yards in the 50-55 minutes that I was in the water. It is suprising how not having any hair makes your goggles not stay on !

Thursday morning rolled around and I got up at 4:30 and went to the DA store for the morning run. Here is the run- (Thanks to Todd S for sharing this web site with us--this is cool stuff-check it out !!

The run felt good. Ran 6 1/2 miles in the 65 minutes and then streched for 20 minutes. I love the new time and location :)

Thursday night, Guy M showed up at our home with dinner in tow. We had spoken previously and he and Kristin V wanted to bring dinner over just to help out. Dinner was delicious. Thanks Guy and Kristin.

Friday rolled around and it was time for the next chemo treatment. I insisted that I visit with the Doctor first an discuss the results of the PFT. According to the test, my lung volume is still normal, but my diffusion capacity had dropped almost 10% since the start of treatment thanks to the Bleomycin. The doctor said that this is acceptable. "To who?" was my question. According to the Dr, a 50% drop is the top end of an acceptable loss. I kinda of lost my cool with him. I said "That might be fine for the average Joe that sits around on his ass watching TV with the only excercise coming from pushing the lawn mower around, but it is not acceptable to me. What are the options for this?"

He said the options are cancer or a little lung capacity loss.
Silence on my part. The answer is obvious, but painful for someone that has grown to love swimming , biking, and running.

He suggested we closely monitor my lungs during the next 3-4 weeks and re-evaluate the use of the Bleo at that time. He felt it was to early in treatment to drop it just yet. I agreed with the stipulation that if I felt things with lungs were getting worse, we would do another PFT before 4 weeks was up. He agreed.

I had my 4th chemo treatment yesterday. I am half way through these treatments ! Yes.

I feel pretty bad this morning as I update this blog. Its about 11:15 and for those that braved the cold temps and wind, they are still on the 4 hour bike ride this morning. I miss the ride. I'm there is spirit guys. Wish I was there physically also.

More later.