After my surgery, I declared that I would run another 1/2 marathon in 2011. And, as if that was not enough, I’ve decided that this year I will also run a full marathon — 26.2 miles of, well, of miles.
Having publicly declared it — and, by that I mean, posting it on Facebook — I’ve had others sign up and proceed to ask me “how training is going.”
Training is not going. In a mix of wintery blizzards, too many donuts, and .. oh yeah,.. recovering from a mastectomy, I have way too many excuses for not working out. I even bought myself a Wii fit, thinking that an indoor video game would certainly reduce my reasons for not being active. I’m afraid to log in out of fear that the Wii will yell at me for not having worked out since January 3rd.
I set up “walking dates” in my work calendar, bought myself a new digital watch to replace the one my dog ate in November, and even purchased some good sports bras to keep my implants from ripping out of my chest.
Last year, we purchased a decent elliptical machine which we keep in the basement — a place too cold for me to go in the winter. Sure. You’ve heard it all.
Then, I got an email from a former student — and a humble role model — Maya Klauber. For years, Maya has been dealing with spondylitis and fibromyalgia, both painful joint/muscle/tendon illnesses that are chronic. Maya’s body, in many ways, feels like that of an older body beyond its years. The pain, which is persistent, could easily consume her life — and we’d all understand if it did — but Maya has the determination to not let pain keep her from her goals and dreams. There were times in her life when she felt she could not go on, when she believed that her goals of becoming a social worker would, and could, come to an end.
Did I mention she is 24 years old?
For three weeks after my mastectomy, I experienced persistent and terrible pain that could not be softened by sleep, drugs, meditation nor prayer. It was this pain that brought me to tears, to hopelessness, and to despair. Yet, I knew this was temporary. I knew the pain would eventually be a distant memory in my recovery. And, I knew that the pain would lead to healing.
It was people like Maya — brave warriors who lived in the company of pain but who refused to live in its shadow. Instead, Pain is a passenger on the ride of life. Sometimes annoying. Sometimes encouraging. But always there.
As I sit on my green rocking chair, making a million and one excuses for not exercising, not working out, and not eating right, I think of Maya. I think back to the pain, a temporary pain, that I felt and all that I take for granted.
As if her courage wasn’t enough.
Maya has registered for her first 5K road race. It’s a distance that doesn’t seem all that bad, right? 3.1 miles. But, what must that be like when your own body is telling you to stop, lie down, and just let the fire in your tendons take over?
Maya spent the last year walking by grabbing on to walls. She spent the last year experimenting with medication to manage her pain, only to be met with more pain.
Maya spent the last year in a rigorous social work program, doubting whether or not the searing pain in her body would keep her from even getting up to walk out the door to get to class.
Maya will complete a 5K. She’ll be in pain. There will be times when she’ll want to quit. There will be times when her body will tell her she must. But, she’ll do it. She’ll make it.
Won’t you help me encourage her? Send a comment her way on her blog or leave one for her here (she’s a faithful reader!). Honor her by appreciating what you’ve got today, that you can move your body without pain, or that your pain might be a temporary situation.
Through pain and suffering, Maya sees love. She sees light. And, she has taught me to move even beyond my own belief.
Peace, love and moving,