I am so excited to be participating in the 2023 Strides for Stripes Zebra Walk Across America. My goal is to run the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon in October. I used to love running until I started having major issues with joint pain and fatigue about 10 years ago - so I gave it up. (Little did I know that those were some of my symptoms of neuroendocrine cancer.) I was diagnosed with NETS in 2019, and started monthly Sandostatin shots (butt darts) in 2021 after 2 abdominal surgeries - and I feel better than I have in years. Not sure if I can make the distance, but I am going to try! Just so glad to be training for something again.
NETS is not well known by the general public or within the medical community. It can start anywhere in the body, and the symptoms can be vague and mimic many other disorders. (Mine started in the small intestine which is most common, but for Steve Jobs and Aretha Franklin – it was the pancreas. Jimmy Buffett recently passed from merkel cell skin cancer – yes, another form of NETS. It takes most people 5-7 years to get a proper diagnosis. It took me 12 years to get there…my symptoms were bouts of horrible abdominal pain, digestive/bathroom issues (not to be discussed in polite company), fatigue, flushing, roller coaster emotions and a general feeling of crap.
The Neuroendocrine Cancer Awareness Network (NCAN) is one of the groups that helped me to learn more about my disease - I am grateful to them for all of the educational resources and emotional support. I have met some truly wonderful people through this organization, and I hope to help them spread awareness of the crazy cancer.