Lots of emotion surrounding this last week of Mb4M training. I’m so touched by all the emails of encouragement, and in turn, am so very thankful for all of the stories friends have shared about their own journey.
My good friend, Tina, will be running on Sunday. Here’s what she wrote:
Obviously, as you know, the 1/2 marathon has been on my mind quite a bit this week. Your posts have really kept me going, and I was so glad to see an email from you waiting in my inbox this morning as I was lacing up for what turned out to be a 7-miler. (Woot!) Your commitment and motivation and perseverance throughout all of your training has been inspirational — you probably hear that a lot, but it’s very, very true.
I can’t remember if we ever told you this, but when Cady was about 13 months old, she was in and out of the hospital for a few months. ‘Respiratory distress’ is what they called it at the time — RSV, pneumonia, Cystic Fibrosis, TB tests always came back negative, yet we’d find ourselves admitted to the hospital every few weeks for a few days at a time while she was hooked up to an oxygen monitor. We’d watch the O2 saturation number fluctuate, and in the meantime try to occupy our precocious toddler while calling in to work, finding a substitute teacher, getting lesson plans together, fielding phone calls from concerned family members, and trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Selfishly – and I’ve never admitted this to anyone to this day, not even Scott – I found myself thinking the same thing over and over again: “I didn’t sign up for this.”
About six months after Cady’s ‘severe virally-induced asthmatic’ diagnosis (to which we sighed and said, “thank God it’s just asthma”) Scott was standing in the living room of our old house in Hamden checking his email on his Blackberry. He started to read aloud an email from Ryan Eschauzier – “….my good friends, and perhaps yours….” and his voice broke and he couldn’t finish. I grabbed the Blackberry and read the first message in what has turned into a complex tapestry of blogs, images, visits, conversations, research, diagnoses. We’ve followed Joli’s journey, your journey, your family’s journey, as you’ve navigated it with great openness and honesty. You and Jorge have taken the old adage “When life hands you lemons…” and turned it on its head. You didn’t sign up for any of this either, but you’ve shown your friends, family, and most importantly, your children, not only how to make the lemonade but to share it with others. The effect of your commitment to Rb families, Camp Sunshine, education and research extends much further than I believe you realize.
It seems only fitting at this point that you would make the conscious decision to ‘sign up for’ something really really difficult and KICK. ITS. ASS. Show it who’s boss. Put it in its place. You’ve chosen this thing, this half marathon, this challenge and are going to stare it in the face on Sunday. And destroy it.
I’m proud to be your friend, Liza, and will be proud to run beside you on Sunday.
Here’s to signing up for something hard and going for our personal bests,
I’m so humbled to know that people are experiencing such beautiful journeys of their own, and that I had a little part to do with it. I’ve read status updates where people celebrate “going further than they’ve ever gone” or “defeated an emotional obstacle.” Through this, we’ve challenged one another, persevered in the face of Quitting, and come out transformed.
Last night, I had the opportunity to speak in a class taught by Prof. Sheila Barry. I’ve done this little BRCA talk a number of times before in her class, but this time was different. I felt differently about my surgery, about my journey, and became more focused on the transformation. Thank you, Sheila, for repeatedly giving me the chance, space, and room to process my feelings about being BRCA +.
Also, today, I got a surprise visit from my friend, Alice. Alice has been my “cancer mommy” friend since 2005. Her son was diagnosed with cancer, and when we met, he had just finished his treatment. She worked across the hall from me, and some days, I would beg for her to come into my office, close the door, and allow me to cry. With Alice, I didn’t have to say, “Oh, I’m good! We’re all doing well!” Alice and I journeyed together on the road of “Why does this happen to us?” as we saw our children go through treatment. Lately, Alice has had her fair share of tests come her way — her son had another surgery related to cancer, her husband suddenly experienced a traumatic and unexpected House-style episode, and her mother in law passed away. All within a few days and weeks.
Yet, Alice came by today to wish me luck.
She came to my office to say she was proud of me. She took the time to reach out beyond the electronic wall of email and Facebook. She reminded me of sending the letter — that we must remember to make the personal connection, for we never know when the next personal connection may occur. Thank you, Alice.
Countdown: 3 Days.
Peace, love, and “did I just say THREE days????”,