Are you kidding me? SEVEN days. It’s here, peeps. It’s here.
Unfortunately, after nearly 5 days away from the family, I’m still in my getting-back-home funk. Which means, alas, I’m up at midnight just trying to unwind and clear my head of the randomness that keeps popping in.
I had to make a major decision today, and I’m still processing how I feel about it.
This afternoon, nearly 108 hours since my last nursing session with my son, I breastfed him. Over the course of the 4 days away, I felt my breasts grow heavier with milk, hoping that by the time I arrived home the milk would dry up. (Or, as my sister, Grace, asked, “Doesn’t that milk, like, go bad or spoil?” No, Grace. It doesn’t.).
When Evan woke up this morning, and actually discovered that I was home from my trip, he did not look for milk from me. I think he got used to the fact that I wasn’t there. However, nap time rolled around and I was too tired to get a milk cup together for him. We put our heads down on the pillow, and like habit, I fed him. “Surely, there isn’t any milk after 5 days,” I tried to justify my actions. Surely, there was.
Now, my body is at the point where I’m not producing any kind of substantial amount of milk at all. I’d be surprised if he even got an ounce out. But, it was the act of doing so that made me really question what I was doing. Was this an act of weakness? An act of strength? Something in between? I didn’t spend too much time thinking about it because exhaustion set in and I was fast asleep.
Now, awake just 7 days before the 1/2 marathon. I’m feeling confident. I know that this journey has been a long one. And, with the postponed mastectomy, it’s going to be longer. When my friend Eliza wrote that she might not be able to join us, despite 6 months of training, I invited her to join me on another race post-1/2 marathon. My journey doesn’t end on Sunday, June 13th. Rather, I need to keep going. I need to stay strong, focused, and determined to make it through my mastectomy in the best shape possible.
Back when I started this blog, my friend Chuck (who is also running on Sunday) said, “Liza, you realize even though all these people are saying they’re going to run with you, you are the only one who can’t drop out.” And, yes, there have been people who have changed their minds about joining in the physical journey. Only about 1/2 of the people who were on the initial list are running on Sunday. It’s a testament to life — life choices, interferences, priorities, changes. While I know they will not be there physically with us, they have each given me strength emotionally and mentally.
So, let me introduce you to the June 13th Mb4M team and the ways they have changed my life!
Aleta, Liz, and Chuck: The journey has also given me the opportunity to know people in a different way. For 5 years now, we’ve lived next door to a wonderful couple. We said our casual “good mornings” and waved as we pulled out of our driveways. Despite the barely 2 feet of a grassy strip that separates our driveways, we never really took the time to connect beyond friendly chatter. Now, we’ve relied on each other for help, joined each other for friendly meals and play dates, and shared words of encouragement. We’ve been able to support each other by cheering on long runs and challenging one another to run further and longer. I’ve also gained a great friend in Liz — a CC grad (who I didn’t really know back in college) and the wife of one of Jorge’s co-workers. Through this, turns out we have a lot in common and have leaned on one another for support in some of the most difficult times. And, Chuck, the husband of my childhood friend. Chuck and I ran the first 5K of the season together, and it’s been awesome to see his new found journey in running!
Julie, Beth, Angie, Eliza, and Tina: This journey has also reconnected me with long lost friends. Friends from elementary school, high school and college. On June 13, I’ll see some friends who I haven’t seen since the late-1980s and early 1990s. Seriously. It’s also helped me to reconnect with Tina, who I have seen a few times throughout the years, and discover we’re both on this new-athlete journey together.
Jim, Heather, Donna, Christina and Tammy: My work crew! Jim and Heather are the hard core runners. Heck, Heather wears a GPS when she runs! Jim and Heather have been my go-to people for running advice, and I’m so thankful for their knowledge and expertise. Donna and Christina have been faithful running companions of mine, even in the rain/snow/sleet. They have kept me on target and pushed me when I needed it most. Tammy is an old work pal from my Wesleyan days. She has been getting up at 5:00am to run during the week, and we’ve fit in some awesome long runs on the weekends. Tams is my girl! For years now, we’ve been talking about racing together, and so here we are!
Jon: My brother. What more can I say? Spending hours with Jon has been a wonderful new dimension of our relationship. He has encouraged me and reminded me to enjoy running. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy the air, the breathing, and the feeling of my body getting stronger. He’s been a wonderful coach and pal!
Darcy, Kristie, Emily, Jade, Alex, Blayne, Joniece, Alice, Alina, Damina, Sheila, my “Rb Family”, Meredith, Liv, Gen: Thanks to these folks who have joined me on physical walk/runs and those who virtually check in by giving me emotional support. I’m so very appreciative of your comments, your words of encouragement, and your friendship.
The many, many, many, many folks in my support network: There are people who have checked in on me and offered up love, advice and wisdom. Your everyday support — and each and every sentence you’ve written me — keeps me going. Honestly. When I started this journey, I knew it was going to be impossible to just write about “the good Zen stuff.” No way. That’s not what it feels like, looks like, or acts like. I knew I was going to expose the ups-and-downs of both the 1/2 marathon and the mastectomy. And, I thank you for joining me on this ride.
Jorge, Joli, Jada and Evan: One of the hardest phrases I’ve ever had to say was, “I’m doing this for me.” Thank you for letting me be selfish, for letting me focus on what I have to do to be healthy physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, and for giving me the time and space to do this.
Countdown: 7 days.
Peace, love, and 1 week,