There are just some days that you know are going to be great. Today did not start out as one of them.
My son has been getting bigger (as all babies do, of course) and I haven’t quite figured out his groove yet. He’s been going to bed earlier on his own and not quite eating dinner. I reach the Parent Dilemma – Do I keep him awake and try to feed him when he’s not hungry, or, do I let him sleep knowing it’ll be a restless night of him waking up hungry? Lately, I’ve been doing the latter.
With no clockwork to anticipate, my son will just wake up and start crying. There is no consoling him. If I let him “cry it out”, he’ll just cry himself into a tizzy and then all chances of sleep are down the drain. So, I wake up, try to nurse him with whatever small amount of milk is still in my breasts, and hope he falls back asleep. Wait an hour. Repeat. Somewhere around 5am, the routine stops and my son is just awake for the day. Ready. To. Go.
At around 6am, I decided today was a good day for a morning run. My day was already filled with a 6 hour training session for my student leaders, a 1 hour break, and then a few hours of Relay For Life in the evening. I strapped on my sneakers, grabbed my dog, and walked out the door.
I’m not sure if it was my new audio book that I downloaded (“Born to Run” — thanks to Ed Morrisson for this suggestion!) or that my body was just finally ready to get moving, but I ran the full 3 miles this morning. Alright, a little transparency — I ran all 3 miles, with the exception of a 2 minute break to “curb my dog” and find a garbage can. I couldn’t believe it. My lungs felt strong, my core felt strong, my legs felt strong, my psyche felt strong. Had it not been time to get ready for work, I probably would have hit 4 1/2 miles — I felt THAT good.
In the evening, my family participated in Relay For Life. Aside for Camp Sunshine, this is truly the way that I honor the survival of my daughter. My cancer survivor. The one who, much like my running sessions, trained me for the marathon ahead. She gets to walk the Survivor Lap, and each time, I cry. I cry for her life. I shed tears for the pain she went through and the courage she will need. I am humbled knowing that I will need to draw on the same strength she has in order to get through my own trials. During the Luminaria lap — a time when all the lights are turned off in the Sports Complex and glow sticks are lit to represent the lives that have been lost — I am reminded of just how close we all come to the line between living and existing. There were so many days, prior to her getting sick, that just passed me by. Once she was diagnosed, I embraced each day, wishing that time would just move a bit slower.
I’m less than 11 weeks from my anticipated surgery. Eleven weeks. I remember when it was 7 months. I had bought a pair of running gloves that had etched on them, “This was a good idea three months ago.” I bought those gloves because they made me laugh at the idea that I was going to run a 1/2 marathon and prepare for a mastectomy. The idea of “three months” seemed so far away. And, now, here we are. Less than 3 months away.
I’m anxious about my surgery. I replay lying on the table and the doctors asking me to “count backwards from 10…..”, knowing that by the time I hit “8,7…” I’ll be fast asleep. After all, I’ve seen all three of my kids go under anesthesia multiple times. I know those are the longest 3 seconds of my day.
I keep trying to focus on how great it will feel after my surgery. No, not when my chest is swollen or my drains are cumbersome. Rather, the thought that I’ll be okay. The absence of the thought of breast cancer.
There are so many more great days to be had, and I hope we can all find the time to do something great, be something great, and experience something great.
Peace, love, and days like this,