Thursday, January 31, 2013

thoughts on the journey.... 01.31.2013

Ok, I have tried to start this off without some deep questioning process. I did it. No, not just starting without a deep question but I am sure that there will be a few hidden along the way. Sometimes deep questions are like rabbits…. you never really know how many there are and they seem to dart out of nowhere.
I did it. I walked over 2 miles yesterday. Now that may not seem to be like a lot. There is a part of me that is smiling at the accomplishment and it is also a stark reminder of where I am and how far I still have to go. It has been a long time since I laced up the Brooks and took a nice long run or even a short run for that matter. It will be a year this upcoming May. In fact, this time last year I was fueled by at least two things. I was preparing to run in a half marathon that I had wanted to do ever since I heard about the previous year. And secondly, I wanted to see if I could wear out my four legged running partner, Molly.
Neither happen.
I remember it all too well. As if it was yesterday. At 4:30 am I am waking up to go run a race that I had prepared for and was all ready to do mentally. Then it happen. A sharp pain in my mid back. At first, I thought I had a muscle cramp but could not think of what I had done to cause it. I had eaten well. I was hydrating myself during the course of my training. The pain led to more severe pain that eventually turned out to be a kidney stone. Not sure why they call them “stones” They are anything but a stone. A grain of sand is larger but felt like a boulder as it passed through. But during the course of xrays I was finally given news that I was neither prepared for nor have I fully accepted.
“Have you ever been told that you have a mass?”
Interesting question to be asked when you are least expecting it. Initially, you don’t think that you heard them right and to be honest with you I was pretty medicated for the kidney “stone”. It wasn’t until my oldest daughter asked me the same question while I settled into my hospital room that I fully heard the question.
That was May 20th, 2012.
My world….. my life….. my identity and all that it interlaced with it was about to be changed.
I am lucky. No, I am blessed. “Lucky” is what happens when you get a really good lotto or scratch card. My cancer was detected early enough to not progress into a more catastrophic state. I had just started to be covered by my insurance.
This cancer became in many ways my teacher and my tormentor. It taught me a lot about myself….. it taught me what suffering meant….. it taught me to think in the present…. it also tormented me with mortality….. the need to seek and grant forgiveness… to learn how to love better.
So, where am I on the timeline of getting healthy? To be honest I have no clue. If it were not for the fight with infection, I might have been able to run the 2.5 miles yesterday instead of walk it. I might be holding the leash of my four legged friend instead of just remembeing what it is like to see her tilt her head when I aked her if she wanted to take a run. I lost more than some body organs….. I lost much more than that.
So, what is this writing all about? It is more than a “campfire gathering” remembering the events and losses of the past. It is a celebration of the ability to actually know that walking 2.5 miles is always a posssability. To know that health is not just measured by physical capabilities but also from how you heal from within. It is the “gathering up the pieces….. let nothing go to waste”. It is an acknowledgement that something is not “quite right” and not ignoring it.
I have an amazing friend that is on a “pull up” kick. I am amazed at how many SHE can do…… right now I am on a mental and spiritual pull up kick. I am sure someone said this once before but I know it to be true.
“It is not how many times that you get knocked down that really counts. It is how many times you get up that really matters.” – anonymous
So, the purpose of writing is simple.
  • If my journey encourages others, then not only is it worth it but I am being a good messenger.
  • To learn the lessons that healing comes from within.
  • To share lessons learned and to be honest enough to admit those that were missed.
So, here it is. It is January 31st, 2013. Almost a year since this journey began and it is still evolving. I have had 5 surgeries now. To move forward means to be in the present. To accept that each moment of struggle means a new birth. I am lacing up my shoes not quite ready to run but willing to take each necessary step to move forward.