Sunday, October 30, 2011

60 Minutes tonight - why some die and some play football and some ride bikes?

Tonight while watching 60 Minutes my attention was demanded when I heard the term Ewings Sarcoma!
A cancer that only affects about 400 people a year.  The segment was about Mark Herzlich the football player and how he was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma ( a very rare bone cancer) - different than the Multiple Myleoma I was diagnosed with (bone marrow cancer) - He had a titanium rod put in his leg and went through chemo and radition and it went into remission.  A miracle!  He is back playing football. I have a titanium rod in my left leg too.  Only it was not at my request, unfortunately.  Breaking a femur is very painful, trust me.

My dear, dear friend Alan Tilley was struck with Ewings Sarcoma when he was only 18.  I battled through my breast cancer and we fought together for his life!!   We were inseperable - unfortunately, he died six years later at 25.   He died in February of 1995.  I was just getting over the breast cancer portion of my life.  But Alan and I shared the same wonderful oncologist at that time, Dr. Neil Barth.  Dr. Barth loved Alan as much as I did.  Alan used to laugh saying things like, " you are just jealous because I won't be here to support you" - He knew he was dying.  He worked at Disneyland and wanted to be an actor.  I walked a redwood tree with him right before he died.  It was his request.   He was gay and acted like I was not supposed to know? I never knew why.   But it had nothing to do with his cancer.  I only mention it because Alan and I had a love relationship for which I have no words and never will.   Alan was more than a sibling and certainly not a lover, and we were as close as close can be!!!!!!!!!!!
 One time he said to me, " Cheryl, one day you and I will be two shining stars in the sky"  - Maybe he is my Star tonight bringing on this desire to share how much I miss him and how proud I am of how hard he fought! 

Three months after Alan died, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and told I had six months to live.  Alan was correct.  I was angry that he was gone already and he was not there to support me.  Only he was in spirit and still is.  The first century I road (with no training) the last 25 miles I asked Alan to give me a boost and I kicked ass that last stretch and passed everybody!  As I crossed that finish line, I fell to the grass and cried like a baby.   Alan and I and our cancers are on the same page in the Merck Dictionary and we will be holding hands forever.   I am not sure where he is, but I have a feeling he is that shining star, rooting for me to train and do this ride for life --- and when I finish Counting Coup, Alan - my dear, Alan, it will be for you and all our friends who are with you.  Oh, how I wish I understood why some of us live and some of die?

Why some of us get to play football and ride mountain bikes and some of us leave and move on to where we will all be some day.  

So GO GO Mark Herzlich - nobody will stop you from playing football!   And cancer won't stop me either.

I am happily recovering from my ride yesterday and totally exhausted!  I am forever grateful for my memories of my friends and everything I have been through has brought me here.
God bless you all!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Endurance Ride 2 - much improvement

Today I road the same ride I did last weekend, with a small tweak and ended up a mile further (31.41 miles; more elevation, 3681 feet - and shaved off nearly 20 minutes! My time was 3:41 with an elapsed time of 3:42.  12 minutes for food breaks - much better than last week of around 40 minutes.   It was a beautiful day and I had fun and felt strong and pushed harder than last week.  Getting  used to my new 29er bike on the downhill and off-camber turns, etc.  My max speed was 40.6 (flying down Westridge black top) lol

Lou, my coach is on her way to La Ruta for her four-day endurance race!  If I weren't so old, I would dream of doing what she is doing! But, for now, I am excited to report that training is fun and pays off when you listen to the pros!

Looking forward to the day I kick out 10,000 feet of climbing in a day!
Thank you to my friends and family for supporitng me.
I sure  never dreamed I would be crazy enough to do this -- but you all know I am crazy!

Tomorrow is a two - hour recovery ride.

Friday, October 28, 2011

First training with Mikey today

It was an early morning.  I was at my office at 6:00 a.m. and since the Spetrum is on the same floor as my office, it was an easy "get to" and meet Mikey at 6:45.  We worked on arms and core and he sure has a job ahead of him.  When I attempted the push-ups and pull-ups (which he makes look so easy) you should have seen the look on his face!  But, he promises that this morning will not be a repeat in down the road as I get stronger. 

Having had more surgeries than I can remember, starting with mastectomy one and two, and several reconstructive surgeries and implant types and sizes - oh, those nipples they tried to make (now that was a joke) - had to be off my  bike for a while with that surgery.  They also took my lympnodes and so for 23 years, my upper body has not been a strong suit, to say the least!

So here is to giving it all I have and with the help of Lou and Mikey - I think WE can do Counting Coup and finish on Aprli 7th, 2012!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Diet changes

Last weekend after my four-hour ride, I made the decision to turn to whole wheat pasta and rice, add more veggies, fruits and rest more - drink more water. 

And most of all I remember to thank God every day for my life and this chance to do something so important to me.  Possilby my only chance.  23 years of my life was about cancer and tests, doctors and treatment.   Today it is about health, love and the Challenge to Live my Dream!

Response from my coach on today's training -

GREAT!!  I think it looks good and it looks like you really got the HR up!!  It takes a little time finding the "perfect" hill, right length and grade, but REALLY the most important part is not a number, but that you are pushing hard and working your legs, heart, lungs and getting used to some pain :-)

Also, I seriously wouldn't worry about checking your HR while riding.  On these intervals, just push as hard as you can, and you can just look at the data after for info.  Using HR is good, but ultimately getting tuned in to your body is more important than what some HR monitor says.  I think listening to your body is more reliable, it's good for me to see the garmin info as it helps communicating to you what to do, but in the race, it will be all YOU, and learning when to push and when you might have to back down is VERY important!!!

Anyway, I think you did a fabulous job!!!!  

Do you think you would like to try the LA test next week?  Did you get the info I sent?  It is totally up to you!  You can try it, and if you don't feel comfortable that's fine.  It will be a great workout anyway, pushing very hard (time trial) for 30 minutes!!!

This saturday, would you be ok with doing the exact same ride as last weekend, or do you have plans to ride with friends.  If you do, that is totally fine, then I will have you do same ride NEXT weekend.  I would like to have you do the same ride, and try figuring out how you can shave time off.  Maybe riding SLIGHTLY faster, stopping slightly less, pushing one gear harder in certain spots.  This will help you figure out how to ride more efficient, save energy and still be faster without killing yourself.  You can do it this, or next weekend :=)

Awesome job on the intervals!!!

--- On Wed, 10/26/11, Quikfingers <> wrote:

From: Quikfingers <>
Subject: Fwd: Untitled by stenogrl at Garmin Connect - Details Same Ride second reading
To: "Louise Kobin" <>, "Marwan Korban" <>, "Cheryl Parrish" <>
Date: Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 4:19 PM
this is the same ride as the earlier one i sent you. i just reset the garmin after playing with it.
so both of the emails i just sent are different but the same ride 
you may want to check my HR on this one - i think i did okay!
again, i tried my best

Begin forwarded message:

From: Cheryl Parrish <>
Date: October 26, 2011 4:18:32 PM PDT
To: Louise Kobin <>, Marwan Korban <>, Cheryl Parrish <>
Subject: Fwd: Untitled by stenogrl at Garmin Connect - Details

Lou - lol - well, i tried and i worked hard - 

Decided on road bike - fussed with the garmin setting up another bike and i have cadence on road bike -
my hill was not long enough and a little steep 
but once i went down the other side i saw i could come up the other way and it was not as steep so i was faster and then down the other side and back up for steeper 
you can see my HR flying around anyway!
once i was warmed up, i just did not want to stop - almost decided to ride to your house! lol --
but i know i need to not to do that - once i get on a roll, i want to keep on rolling. 

trying to watch for cars and my HR and time, etc was a little getting used to -but i am getting better in my one afternoon trying this -
i will find longer hill - but this hill Franklin up and down the other side is nice when i don't have as much time with work because it's close to home.
I may try Inglewood climb - just will ask Marwan how i can get there.
But bottom line you were right - those hill repeats kick your ass!!!!!!!

Today - hill repeats and intervals

Today was fun.  My coach, Lou had me to a 45 minute warm-up, followed by some hill repeats.
I worked it as hard as I could and it sure worked!! My legs are whipped right now.

It is very exciting, while behing challenging and keeping my goal in mind! 

Last Saturday I road four hours from home to the Hub with minimal stopping (for me)
This Saturday I am doing that same ride and see how much time I can shave off.
I have also decided to have Marwan's cousin Mikey help me with training on core and arms at the Spectrum gym.  It is a few feet from my office, so very handy!

Also considering putting a stationary type bike in my office!
Thanks, Lou and to all my friends and family for supporting me in the very early stages of this big goal!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Offically training

My leg has healed very well.  I am so grateful to the amazing doctor in the ER.

Now, I just need to keep my training very focused and still have fun and balance with running my business!

Thanks, Lou for your help!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

First Counting Coup experience!

 From: Cheryl M. Parrish []
Sent: Sunday, October 02, 2011 8:12 PM
Cc: Lou Kobin
Subject: Please will somebody give this five minutes to read?
Importance: High

My name is Cheryl.  I know it’s a long shot, and I don’t mean to waste anybody’s time and you may get a lot of letters.  But please, if you would, at least read this letter, for me, please.

My birthday is April 7, 1958.  Yes, I will be 54 on The Counting Coup race day.  I started my love for mountain biking very late in my life:  mid-forties, after a long battle for my life.  Mountain biking, in my opinion, saved my life and opened my life.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989 when I was 30 and lost both breasts, followed by six months of aggressive chemotherapy.  Seven years later, at 37, I was in for a regular check-up, and the lab tests came up showing elevated protein.  They thought it was an error, but after a bone marrow biopsy, I was told that 98 percent of my plasma cells were cancerous and that I had approximately six months to live, to get my affairs in order, that I had a rare bone-marrow cancer called MULTIPLE MYELOMA.   I was hospitalized the next day, and, ultimately, I lost everything.  From 1995 to 1998, I was on high-dose chemotherapy, followed by TWO bone marrow transplants which were back to back.   My life was over, certainly as I knew it.  I had worked hard for six years to finish court reporting school and graduated and started my own company while being a single mother of one beautiful daughter, Danielle.   My little girl was only five the first time my hair fell out.  All she (we) knew was her mommy was going to die.  Since that time, I have lost way too many close friends to some form of cancer.  I had no medical insurance and I fought and struggled for everything I could get for help.  Several doctors in Newport Beach teamed together and treated me for free, even getting the chemo donated to me by the drug companies for the breast cancer.   There was Dr. Burns, Dr. Barth, Dr. Long, Dr. Heinrichs –- all of whom took care of me on their own dime.  Dr. Vandermolen was amazing! They saved my life.  I worked with a friend, Dani, also a young breast cancer survivor, in starting a cancer support called The Walking Fish Society for young adults with cancer, ages 18 to 40.   Why? Because people think fish don’t walk and they think we don’t live. 

No doctor is sure why I am alive today, nor am I.   My oncologist says I am in the 3% survivorship of my diagnosis.  The other 97% died.  I had five years of interferon three times a week, and 13 years of monthly IV Zometa which doctors are now discovering can cause spontaneous femur fractures (and it did).

After ordering my new Turner Flux for Sea Otter 2009, my left leg started hurting right at the femur.  Several doctors and many tests later, they just could not find out what was wrong.  After a an MRI they said the multiple myeloma was back.  Surgery was ordered, but right before, like 45 minutes, the radiologist came in and said they changed their mind!!! It was a mistake?!   They said I may have a stress fracture caused by some trauma and there was nothing they could do. (I know the trauma was from a mountain bike crash) -- Zometa is a drug that won’t allow your bones to heal after trauma.  I have been off that drug since March of 2009.  However --- 

In June of 2009, I was visiting a friend out of town in Seal Beach.  Someone knocked at the door.  I answered the door, and my dog ran out around the guy.  This man at the door was really intoxicated and would not move out of my way.  As I stepped “around” him, I felt something strange, and my body just froze in the doorway.  Then I could hear it.  I said, “Oh my God, I think my leg is breaking” 
And it did.  My femur snapped in half.  Screaming for him to call 911 and get my dog.  15 hours in the ER at Hoag Hospital and several months of recovery, nursing home, and painful therapy, and the titanium rod on my leg, I got back on my bike!  The doctors said I would never mountain bike again!  I ‘may be’ able to road or bike path??

A friend of mine, Colette, said she was going to ride Vision Quest in my honor when the doctors said the cancer had returned.  She is one of my true heroes!

Today, my goal and dream is to ride and finish Counting Coup on my birthday on April 7, 2012.  I had my plan to be right on the keyboard at 8:00 last night to register for the ride.   Only yesterday, while riding my new Epic 29er down backbone, I had a spill – big gash in my leg that I knew would require stitches.   By the time I got down the mountain, about 8 miles, and waited hours in the ER to get stitches in my leg, I was home after 8:00 p.m.   I missed the registration.  

I am begging you, if there is any way you might make an exception?  I had already contacted a coach to train me, and more than anything, I would like the opportunity to do something I never dreamed I would be able to do and that is Counting Coup -- not just for me, but for so many others with terminal cancer, who have lived, or not lived.  My website bio has more of my life and mountain biking and how much it means to me.   I can provide you the paperwork St. John’s Hospital showing that’s where I was, and why I missed registration.  And if you cannot make exceptions, I understand.  There is always the next year.  But in case you cannot tell, I don’t give up easily, so I thought this was worth a try. 
Thank you for your time.

Cheryl M. Parrish, CA, WA, ID CSR
The Water Garden - 2425 Olympic Blvd. Suite 155E | Santa Monica, CA 90404
P: 310.315.3000 | F: 310.315.3067
Proud Member – Women’s Business Enterprise National Council

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Backbone crash October 1, 2011

My stitches, I hope, will come out on Friday.  I am so excited about having Louise Kobin as my coach for my race next April 7 (my birthday) - Counting Coup 2012, here we come.

I will be posting more about the story of how I came to want to race Counting Coup and how I found Lou Kobin while googleing Jones Fractures! -I am one lucky mountain biker!

New Epic 29er

Another great day riding with my buddy, Derek -- My new bike is a climbing machine.  We went to the hub and back for a quick training ride.