Tag Archives: colon cancer

#121 – Undy Run/Walk 5k

5kmIt’s that time of year.  It’s time for the undies to fly.

Yesterday was my fifth Undy race.  I’ve been running these every since I was diagnosed with colon cancer in December 2011.  Only three months after successful surgery to cure me, I ran my first Undy, still sporting bandages from my surgeries.  And I’ve run and fundraised every year since.

This year, the event felt a little smaller to me.  The MC announced that there were 1500 runners and walkers, 250 of which were fundraisers.  Our event in Da Lou has historically been one of the largest in the country, and this year, it raised over $130,000 for the Colon Cancer Alliance.  I’m always thrilled to be a part of those numbers, and I couldn’t do it without the generosity of family and friends that support my Undy races.  This year, y’all helped me raise $750 for the cause, which put me just outside the top ten individual fundraisers in Da Lou.  THANKS!

The other thing I noticed this year was a much larger number of kids, strollers and dogs.  Pre-race, I petted every dog I could (that’s one of my race rules!), and tried not to get tripped up by kids underfoot, or run over by strollers.  Once we got on course, this wasn’t too bad, but in the expo area, this was a bit challenging.

We all took a moment of silence for those that’ve been taken by this disease, and I said a quick prayer of thanksgiving for my situation, and the fact that I could be out there, helping others.  We were quickly routed to the staging area, and after a little crush just before the starting gun, we were off.

Anyone who’s read my rambling about my rambling knows my feelings about running in Forest Park.  It’s just not my cup of tea.  The park is beautiful, and early on a Saturday morning, it’s quiet and peaceful, even with 1500 runners traipsing through it.  However, it’s a tough surface, with lots of breaks in the pavement, places where the crosswalks are made pretty by use of uneven bricks (which I *hate* to run atop), and the occasional pothole where the surface material changes.  It’s just hard for me to enjoy the run when I’m having to watch my footing so closely.  However, the new shoes did really well, so that’s a plus!

One nice thing the race organizers have done is starting and finishing the race at the lower Muny lot, rather than the upper lot.  Using the upper lot means the last half kilometer of the race is a big, big uphill climb.  Construction in the upper lot last year drove the race to the lower lot, and I was glad to see that course used again this year.  It’s a huge difference, and keeps the last part of the race from being so draining.

While watching my footing, I ran a reasonable race, tackling the rolling hills when needed, and enjoying the folks around me.  That’s probably the nicest thing about this race.  Most of us are out there for the same cause.  Everyone you bump into is either a survivor, patient, family memory, or care provider, and they’ve each got their story to tell.

I finished up, and hung around for the survivors’ ceremony.  There were 71 of us running in the race, and after a medal ceremony for each of us, we gathered for a group photo.  I’m always so uncomfortable with this part of day.  I know my story is inspiring, and may help someone someday, but having so many people focus, photographing and cheering… well, it’s a little overwhelming.  Good thing I was wearing sunglasses.  🙂

This race benefitted the Colon Cancer Alliance.

Race Course

Colin – 4, Colon Cancer – 0

Lately, much of my writing has been focused on running.  And more running.  And the occasional technology write-up.  (I need to do more of those!)

Today, the real world encroached on my fun world, and I had my scheduled colonoscopy on my fourth anniversary of a colon cancer diagnosis.

I know folks don’t wanna talk about this kind of cancer.  I mean, it’s icky.  And pretty invisible — outta sight, outta mind.  And the process for finding it is really icky.  But this cancer can be preventable.  Do the colonoscopies, and you’ve got the best chance to find and beat this awful thing.

Today’s results were great.  Nothing of any concern found, and with that news, I am now on a regular schedule for every five years.  Best birthday present ever!

If you want to join me in the fight against colorectal cancer (CRC), I’ll be running in the Undy Run/Walk 5K in St. Louis on March 19th.  Please, join me if you’re inclined toward running or walking.  You can also donate to my fundraising for the race on my Undy page.

Regardless of whether you join me in my race, pay attention to what’s happening with you.  If you have a symptom, say something to someone.  If you need to get your colonoscopy, do it.  Yeah, it’s icky, it really is.  But it could just save your life.  It saved mine.


Three Years of Semicolon Goodness

Three years ago — almost to the hour — I was exiting surgery, cured of colon cancer, and starting a new phase of my life.

It’s hard to believe it’s only been three years… that time in my life was really dark and scary as we led up to the resection that eliminated the evil intruder in my bowels.  It seems like a lifetime ago.

And as scary as it was, it was, in the end (no pun intended!), pretty straightforward.  Had it not been for the massive infection that followed, it would’ve been almost a non-event.  I spent more time recovering from the infection than I did from the removal of a third of my colon.

Now, three years downstream, I think I’m a little healthier — I’ve squandered that opportunity somewhat, although adding running to my life has certainly been a step in the right direction.  I think I’ve got a long way to go to fully “get healthy,” but it’s doable, and I know I’ve been given a second chance to position myself for healthier days for the rest of my life.  That second chance is a gift, and one I need to take more advantage of.

For the family and friends that made up my support team over the last three years — THANK YOU!  You have no idea what it meant to have your support at the time, or what you’ve meant to me since.

Later today, Becky and I go off to lunch to celebrate my NED (No Evidence of Disease) anniversary, and I can’t wait.  It’s so wonderful to celebrate my “rebirth” at this time of year when we’re also celebrating the birth of Christ.

I ran my undies off!!!

Undy 5000 runner!
Your intrepid author!

The Undy 5000 has come and gone, and I ran my race.

OK, so I didn’t set any land speed records, and I didn’t run faster than last year — slower by about two minutes, in fact — but I ran a better race this year.  I was crazy nervous about this race.  You see, this was my first race since Race for the Stars last summer, and while I knew I could run the distance from my treadmill work over the winter, it’s a whole different thing when pounding the pavement.

Add to that the cold, cold weather — about 35 degrees at racetime — and I was a nervous wreck.

Becky brought Bailey, which helped ease my nerves, and while we were standing there waiting to get going, a good friend of ours from work, Scott, showed up to run with me.  Now, I’d tell you that I’m probably taking great liberties with the phrase run with me.  I ran my 5km in just over 51 minutes; Scotty blazed the trail in under 30 minutes!

Like they say, even slow miles are better than no miles.  I’ll take my slow miles, any day of the week.

And my slow miles actually went pretty well.  The course is configured with the finish line sitting atop a rise.  Last year, it’s all I could do to sorta jog (and mostly walk) up that rise.  This year, I zoomed right up it.  Part of that’s probably that I’m in a little better shape this year than last year, but it might also be that I paced myself better this year.  Last year, I zoomed through the first half-mile or more in a big ol’ pack.  This year, I didn’t start in the big pack, and I kept a little more consistent pace throughout the whole course.

Once the race was over, I got a little post-race sustenance, and waited for the Survivor’s Ceremony.  This is a special time for me.  All the survivors gather at the stage, and are honored for their successful fights.  And once they’re honored, folks who’ve lost someone to CRC are brought up, and are honored.  It’s a moving, moving ceremony.  This year, though, the folks from the CCA added a little extra touch.

Each of the survivors got a finishers medal to honor us for running our race, and raising our funds.

I’m not one to toot my own horn, and I’m generally a little uncomfortable when someone does that for me.  This was no exception, and I had a tough time holding myself together when the gal put the medal around my neck.

So I’d call it a success, both personally and for the CCA.  I ran well and strong, I raised some money, and I got a medal.  There’s just not a much better way to start a Saturday morning!

The Undy 5000

Last year, I ran in the Undy 5000 just a few months after having been diagnosed and cured of colon cancer.  The Undy is a fund raiser for the Colon Cancer Alliance, who do a terrific job of awareness, advocacy, and support for colon cancer patients and caregivers.  I’ve been associated with them since shortly after I was diagnosed in 2011.

This year on March 23rd, I’ll be running in the Undy 5000 again.  And of course, I procrastinated getting my donation page out there, but it’s out there now, and you can find it here.  If you’ve got a spare shekel or two, and wanna put ’em to a good cause, please donate them on my participant page, and know that my feet will be pounding 5K of pavement come March 23rd in appreciation of your donations!


Today is the anniversary of one of the biggest changes in my life. A year ago yesterday, I had colon cancer. A year ago today, I didn’t. I was NED… “No Evidence of Disease.”

It’s really hard to believe that it’s been a year. I had really intended to use the gift of what I consider to be “bonus time” to do some big things. And I have done some big things, but I’ve still got plenty of road to travel.

So what were those big things for me this year?

I ran. For the first time in two decades, I ran. Now, I haven’t been very regular about it since the heat came during the summer, but now that the cold weather is here, I’m really driven to get back on the path.

I biked. I returned to the Katy Trail after a four year absence, exploring the new trailhead in Research Park. I thoroughly enjoyed this return, although I shoulda put more miles under my butt.

I started a new job. During my recovery from surgery, I accepted a new position within my company, returning to a team and technology that I left nearly a decade ago. It’s been a blast, and I have found a new joy in going to the office every day.

I returned to Florida. When I was a kid, I spent a ton of time on Pine Island in SW Florida. Becky and I returned there in September, marking at least 30 years since I was last there. And it was amazing! I desperately want to return to the island soon, and put some more “relax” in my soul.

Those are pretty big steps. This year, I have a few new things in mind, and I definitely want to expand on some the things I’ve learned through this last year. The thing that I learned through this is that I have more strength — with God’s help! — to tackle much higher obstacles than I ever knew I could. Remembering that and applying that to my running and cycling, as well as other parts of my life, is the biggest goal for this year.

Oh yeah… I’ll also try to write more here, and I’m thinking about taking up a “Project 365” effort again this year.

Seven Months

Today marks seven months since the cancer was removed from my colon. Seven months a survivor. Seven months cured.

It’s still hard for me to believe that I’ve had cancer and beaten it (so far). I just have a tough time wrapping my head around that time in my life… almost like watching TV of someone else’s struggle.

And here in July, with no symptoms, and no reason to be concerned, I find myself a little scared. I get emails from the CCA, talking about new medicines and treatments, public policy decision of note and other things that concern cancer survivors and fighters. They also mention those who’ve been lost recently to the disease. And that’s the part that’s scary to me.

My cancer was found early — I mean, who ever hears of a Stage I colon cancer event? To me, it always seemed that colon cancer had an awful end, and that’s what I steeled myself for when it started to become apparent that I was headed down that diseased road. And yet, it hasn’t. I have a great prognosis, a clean bill of health, and yet somehow, I’m still nervous.

I think part of it is reading the blogs of those folks that are fighting the disease. There’s so much optimism and strength as they fight their Stage III and Stage IV diseases, and then sometimes, the realization one day comes that theirs is not operable, not treatable, and it becomes a clock watching event. And I can’t get past that, wondering if this time right now is the lull between the storms for me.

Why was I only grazed by this disease? Why did I have a symptom, which prompted us to do a colonoscopy two years before I would’ve been slated? Why was I given the right signs, guidance and doctors to save my life? I really don’t know.

But I know God has a purpose for all of us, and I know my purpose with Him isn’t just to play Taylor guitars and keep Apple’s profits up. Admittedly, those are good side benefits of finding myself alive and reasonably healthy at the end of seven months since my colectomy! I don’t know why He’s given me this second chance at life, and I just keep waiting to hear the voice that lets me know somehow what I’m supposed to do with this overtime period in my game of life.

I’m grateful, though, to be at the end of my seventh month of my second chance. And I’m praying for another seven, and another seven, and seven more sevens.

The Undy!

As I talked about earlier this week on The Deauxmayne, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I was lucky, with an early detection, and a clean bill of health coming out of taking a couple of months off from life to get healed.

Next weekend, on Saturday (March 31st), I will be walking in the Undy 5000. This is a fundraising walk to raise money to fight colorectal cancer. Given my recent history, I thought this would be a great way to work toward others not having to fight this disease.

If you’ve got a little folding money that’s burning a hole in your pocket, would you consider donating to my fundraising for the walk?

You never know… the ass you save might be your own!!!