763: That is how many consecutive days I had been running at least one mile—also known as a running streak.
Surgery ended that. On what would have been day 764, I had the lower right lobe of my lung removed. Even with no known risk factors and a healthy lifestyle, at age 46, I was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Because the doctors believed this was the result of some sort of congenital abnormality and the 7 cm cyst and 2.5 cm tumor were thought to be contained in the lobe that was removed, I was declared “surgically cured.”
However, one year later, a scan revealed 13 new cysts in the two remaining right lobes. After a biopsy, I was offered two directions for treatment: surgical removal of the remaining right lobes followed by chemotherapy, or chemotherapy only. Because I tested positive for the KRAS biomarker, there was no targeted therapy option available to me. After seeking second opinions from several renowned cancer centers, I decided to start traditional chemotherapy and immunotherapy, holding off on further surgery. We decided to additional surgery as an option of last resort.
Learning that I would be facing chemo for an “indefinite duration” was overwhelming. I felt out of control. It was during the recovery from the biopsy surgery that I realized I needed to control what I could. I would restart a running streak.
It was slow and painful at first. The surgery had reawakened angry nerves that had finally settled down after the first surgery a year earlier. While it was slow and ugly, I began to run.
I knew from my earlier streak that the decision to run every day without missing a day was not just a personal commitment. It involved everyone around me being understanding and committed to supporting the streak. Even though my friends and family thought I was crazy, they supported my decision.
For two and a half years, through che