Friday, October 29, 2010

I lie

It's quite a sucker punch. Meds are in and I'm out for 24-48 hours. I am getting plenty of practice for both menopause and the flu. Amazed at how much more my body can handle when my mind decides it has to...

Bets on my running return? Sunday or Monday? Of course my money's for Saturday night...

So I lie,

In bed, a big improvement from the bathroom,


Thursday, October 28, 2010

It'll be okay

Sometimes the simplest words can heal us. I have been searching for the right words, well, for nearly a week. Words strong enough to heal physical pains and restore emotions long since drained. I've been writing and running as I could, but not sharing. I apologize to so many of you for that selfishness. I have needed some time for my own thoughts to gather, for my own strength to grow. I ran, and I run, and I will run again tomorrow and it will continue to save me. When the words can't leave my head, my feet can clear a path.

I am coming to terms with the simplest fact that I won the battle, but not yet the war. I have treatments to go through, some surgeries up ahead, and long drawn out fight with my lymphatic system. And now that I'm done letting it beat me, I am prepared to beat it. I am grateful for what running has given me. I am grateful for the one arm that is still typing today, the strong pain tolerance I have developed from the sharp rocks on the road, the simplest serenity of my meditation, the unending love of soul mates, and the unhinged power of a run that finally allows my words to flow onto the page.

It'll be okay. Everyone has told me this, over and over again, and now I'm telling you. I know... It seems  hollow at first.  I even cry that it's not, and that we don't know, and that it is so very unfair. It'll be okay. It'll be okay. It'll all be alright. I just want to scream.... But after a few days, those words start to fill with love and I start to resent them less. A few more days and the words begin to fill with hope, even faith, and I crave that reassurance. And finally, like today, those words begin overflowing; they become unending. And once that happens, I realize I am lost without them. It may not seem like much, but it is the job of the people that love us to tell us it'll be okay. It's so very important, even in the moment we may hate you for it.

It's all that is needed in the end of the day, and even in the end of the journey. Simply the compassion to  know that it's okay, and the bravery to remind us... reminding us until we are so drenched by the thought that we become it.

It'll be okay. I'll do this again. This time, I enter stronger and healthier in every other way. This time, with a doctor who understands that reducing my miles is rest. And that rest is only for the weary, not necessarily the tired. This time, enduring with the power of hundreds of people running with me, running for me, and running beside me.

Thanks to my fancy new shoes, my duct taped old ones, my favorite new doctor, my cranky old doctor,  my painfully chilly fall mornings on the road, and the snowbound runs ahead, I am telling the statistics to suck it. I'm not afraid. I'm better than the anger. And I'm back.

Sunrise-run suckers... catch me if you can.

In sheer will,


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pooh and Piglet

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together... there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart... I’ll always be with you.-- Winnie the Pooh

I spent a lot of time considering this post. I had an enlightening last 24 hours, to say the least. I may have gone even gone a little crazy for a bit, but I'm pulling back up nicely. I ran this morning to try and clear my head. My heart still laid heavy at my feet as I tried to pull myself down the street. You see, for the past five years, I have tried finding a specific card that was sent to me when I was in my freshman year of college. I had known, even at eighteen, that this card was very special and that I should keep it close. And for the past five years, I have tried to remember what the card said.

I received many letters and cards at the time. The internet was still very new so we still actually wrote letters to our friends. I thought about so many of these letters when I ran today and eventually, my steps got lighter as my heart began to drop some heavy weights. As I hit mile 7, I realized that my superglue and duct tape job on my shoes was not going to hold up much longer. I quickly focused my thoughts and dried my tears. I let the wind absorb and heal me, then headed home.

Last night I had found that letter, just by accident, as I found my oldest son's baby book. All packed tightly in a box that had been moved with my parents. I'm certain from their old house to their new, with a brief stop in a storage center for the past year. I had thought I was emptying old college books, financial ledgers, and junk, so when I came across the baby book, I was a little overwhelmed. As I flipped through the pages, I, of course, became a little teary eyed at the footprints, the little pictures, and the letters written to my son when he was only weeks old. As I put the book up onto my bookshelves, a long lost card fell from the back of the book.

The card simply showed Piglet and Pooh on the front, holding hands and walking through the woods. Piglet was looking up to Pooh, asking a question. My heart dropped as I opened the card, hoping. 

The simple inscribed answer seems, as if it was everything, then and now. To see John's handwriting again, as if he had just sent me the letter from his small room at the Naval Academy, as if I could write him back and hope to get it to the mailbox at the end of my hall before noon... as if he were right here, helping me get through another day, as he had done for so many years. 

I have found what I needed, when I actually needed it. If for even one second I have ever doubted that life brings you what you need.... If I have ever doubted that some people are just more than us... If I ever doubted that my friend was as much as I remember him to be... 

I am humbled and restored.

The strength to do, the strength to fight, to believe I can beat something than seems so much bigger than me. The belief that I can, and I will... 
My journey has never been from me, but from those who made me, and showed me, and loved me. So much of me now is because of John. He never doubted me, always believed in me, and gave me so much more than I could ever repay. So I pay it forward, that simple love and respect and friendship. That simple peace in the company of true grace. And I write him back, with as much excitement as a scared teen finding a piece of home. And I let him know:

I'm okay. I am surviving on my own here. I've made great new friends here, and even found a great love. You're words inspire me and get me through the tough times. I miss you more than you could ever know. I didn't appreciate how special our friendship was until you went away. I know you are happy there, being everything you were meant to be. I just wished it was somewhere closer to me. I hope it's everything you'd known it could be. I hope, more than anything, that you can feel my love from so far away. Remember when we held hands and prayed before we left? How you'd asked for God to protect me, and for me to know that I always have you and for our friendship to be forever? I remember your voice, and your hands, and our tears. It was so hard to say goodbye to you, but I knew that you'd always follow your dreams. And you still inspire me to follow mine. And when I can't find my way home, I know you'll find me.

I miss you and love you, my best friend. You are more than you know, stronger than you ever were, and as smart as you thought.


In tears,

Friday, October 15, 2010

A long time running

I actually killed my shoe... the sole pulled off as I approached my second mile this morning, in the dark, in the cold.

So I have now done my first 3 mile barefoot run.

What's left of my shoes is lying beside a lamp post a few miles down the road. I'll pick them up in a little while so they may have their proper hero's burial. I will miss my trusted friends. The have taken me safely through hundreds of miles and suffered through my toughest times. They've comforted me through good and bad, hot and cold. But, as with all good things, their run has come to an end.

Barefoot running wasn't so bad. I learned a little about my running stride that I hadn't noticed before and I was able to find my pain tolerance for cold, sharp rocks. I even forgot about the pain of my half closed windpipe from my swollen thyroid... so barefoot running has it's benefits. Just maybe it'll be better served when it's warmer than 50 degrees.

I am stronger than I thought, tougher than I imagined, and more resilient than I've ever been. And once again, I have a great experience to use when any one of you thinks that you want to slow down or quit cause it hurts.

Just try to find an excuse....

In warm socks,


Monday, October 11, 2010

Maddest Hopes

So many of you wonderful readers have sent me messages over the past week, letting me know that you are running! Your best wishes are greatly appreciated and my unnerved spirit goes with you on your runs... And I am still yelling for you to do more.

I received a stronger treatment today, which will mean that by tomorrow morning I will be able to do some light running. It is what gets me through the misery of the rest of this %^&*. I am becoming more patient with today's work bringing tomorrow's reward. Of course, I am still fighting the anger. I am angry at my own body for not giving my soul health. I am angry at the world for not using their health; I feel as if it is wasted on people who do not acknowledge or achieve it. I am even angry somedays at the sunrise for rising without my sweaty footsteps, and the sunset for taunting me with fiery displays that burn through even the most tightly closed blinds. I am even angry at my sweet doctor, for not have the answer that I want.

But... I move forward. I move on to brighter thoughts, such as tomorrow, where I'll wake with the smallest lump in my throat, not from the mass that hinders me, but from the happy tears that well as I lace my filthy, mile-ridden shoes. I have those days of hope that remind me that it won't be this hard forever. I try to keep patience for my body to continue healing enough for surgery, hopefully before this month ends. I have hope that because this journey has brought me to this stronger, it will see me through this with grace.

I'll be running the sunrise tomorrow. Will you?

In hope,

Friday, October 8, 2010

I ran.

Shhhh... I just ran 6 miles. A little help from my understanding Doc and off I went. Just don't tell the mean Doc. Oh wait, he reads this. I wore my heart rate monitor. I slowed my pace. A little fluid drained and some steroids.... thanks Doc! I know it's just a temporary fix, but it saves my life in more ways than you know!


In each moment,

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yes I Can

Jack is my inspiration. I cannot run for a little while longer. But no matter what, I have inspired my children to run. Not only to run, but to do what they thought they could not. Jack doesn't even think about himself as a sick kid in anyway. He doesn't care that he is severely hypoglycemic. He just is a runner. One that breaks his own PR every week. One that doesn't care who finishes ahead of him, only that he finishes. Jack never thinks "I can't". He knows he can and he does. And he does because he saw me do. I set that fire and I lead with my actions and words. This is a place I have never been happier to lead.

With my body keeping me on rest, I know I will lead again soon and that gets me through. I know that my "I can" is that I can heal. I can survive this. And I can get back to the streets soon, running with Jack again. I may not be around as much the next few weeks as they schedule surgeries and possibly more chemo, but I'll be here as much as I can. And when I can't, Jack will be leading as I have taught him. Reminding you that you have no excuses... we can, you can.

In health,

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pieces of me

I am scared. I don't share that much. I like to be funny or strong, but not scared. However, I have not been able to run for the last few days since my neck has swollen severely and my windpipe is being squeezed from the mass. This could be many things, but as a survivor, I know what it is. I will go in on Monday to have more tests. I will sit quietly in the chair and wait my turn for the MRI. I will keep my composure as I sit for the lab tech to take ten vials of blood. And then I will go home, smile at my kids and go about the next few days, just having a cold, and keeping my head up. But I will be terrified. I will be filled with tears sitting just beneath that same mass, both stuck somewhere they should not be. Sometime, in the middle of the night, I will get up and cry myself to sleep on the floor, where no one can hear and everyone can be okay. This is just how it is. And it makes me okay to do it this way.

Don't worry. I am not alone in this. I am never alone. But sometimes, in some places in your life, no one can go with you and nothing can make it better. Time will pass and I will find myself on the other end, able to breathe one way or another. I will be back on the streets running and training and this will all be behind me. But I know that too many others have been here, and will be here, to not share it with you.

 It is okay for me to be afraid. You don't need to fix it for me or even say it'll be okay. Just let me breathe, wherever it is that I find air. Be the best kind of friend to me by honoring your own health and treating your body with grace and simple kindness.  Love me without fear and without sadness. I am alive and will keep living everyday until I do not, and that is no different than you. And most importantly, do not empathize, or sympathize, with my situation. Just let me draw strength on your shoulder when I cannot stand straight, and use my own two legs until I start to lean.

As for tonight, well, I couldn't go for a run as I would have liked. However, I was able to take both of my sons, my brother, and my husband to see my favorite band. My kids now love them just as much as I do. I never thought I'd get to share that with them. No, not because I'd be dead you morbid freaks, but because the band broke up long ago. But fate and karma being as it is, the band is back and the timing was perfect for my boys to get to share this concert with me, on this never ending weekend.

I don't know what will come of all this; I just know that all is in order, all has come full circle now. My kids have been given a piece of me through this band. A piece of me that couldn't be seen any other way. My husband and I have more love than I've ever thought could exist, and I am so very happy. Some things are this small, and this simple, and this perfect. And when I'm on the floor, on the operating table, back in the chemo room, or back running the streets, I'll have NWS back on my ipod, giving me my happy place... flooding memories of everything good in my life, past and present. And those memories are what let me know that whatever it may be, I can handle the future.

In strength, love, and happiness,


Friday, October 1, 2010

I live, here

I run. And I run. And I run.
And I can't begin to find where it was that I used to exist. I no longer see that life, that person, that place.

I see my kids laughing more. I see my husband loving more. I see colors brighten the morning sky and fantastic amber sunsets close the day. And I run. And I am where I have meant to be all along.

I am, here. I have nothing to bring with me. I have everything I never knew I had and nothing that I thought I needed. I inhale. I exhale. And I live, here.

In my skin,