“The Battle I Nearly Lost” Part 3: The Final Chapter

ImageRunning long distances isn’t just a physical challenge. In fact, it may be even more of a mental & emotional battle that in the end if not dealt with could be what ends up destroying your ambition….

When we arrived in L.A. & were waiting to board the plane to Houston, my husband listened to his voicemails since we now had access to our regular phone service.   He hung up the phone, turned toward me & said, “Hunny, I have to tell you something.” At that moment, I could see it in his eyes…He didn’t have to say anymore…I started crying so hard I don’t even have anything to compare it to. I cried every second from before I boarded that plane in L.A. to after we got our luggage in Houston. I could not grasp the concept that God would take my best friend away from me & how after 16 years I could not be the last person he would see. I was angry.  I was devastated.  I was undeniably heartbroken.

This is what it took to break me down from my running program. This is what led me to wanting to “give up”. All along, I believe God had a plan for me. Everything was coming together perfectly…until this happened….I was mad. I was angry. I wanted to roll over & die. I had given up.

You may be thinking right about now…..”All over a dog?” The answer to that is no simpler than….yes. All over my dog who happened to be my best friend. My son. My saving grace & I will even say…my angel.

The loss of my dog had affected me so much mentally & continues so much that I will tell you that typing this blog is taking me forever because I cannot control crying over the entire situation.

I took the next day off of work to drive down to Mama Spahn who had my little guy preserved so I could see him one last time.  When I got there, at first I could not bring myself in to go & see him and I just waited in another room crying. Mama Spahn held me & tried to give me words to encourage me, but nothing was helping. The mere fact that my best friend was gone & knowing that only his soul-less body awaited me, no words could relieve the way I was feeling. 

I eventually had 4 hours of time with his body & cried to him & talked to him. Even after my attempt at closure I still felt like I could not go on. We drove him to the local human society & dropped his body off to be cremated so he could be with me always. When we got back to Mama Spahn’s &  it was time to go home she gave me another hug & out of nowhere & with the run being the last thing on my mind; she simply told me that I had to keep running. She went on to say, “You can’t let this stop you. Life has got to keep going for you. Life moves on. You have a man now that Cody was able to see you safely into his arms.”…and she gave me 3 more words that meant everything to me…”Run Baby Run”. 

I wish I could tell you the next day I got up & began my training program again, but I would be lying to you. I did not run for another 5 days. I would go to work, come home, & stare off into space & cry over the lack of sound or presence in the house.

I had many conversations with my husband telling him that I no longer had it in me. I was so emotionally drained & physically drained from the lack of sleep that I had given up…not only the running, but everything. I had no drive for my job, no drive to eat right, no drive to train, no drive to talk to anyone. I just didn’t care about anything….

He reminded me of the first time I sat him down & shared with him that I had MS. He said, “You told me way back then that you believed that you were diagnosed for a reason. I think we found the reason. This is your chance to inspire the world.”

I started running again….I was MEANT to be a relay runner…for so many more reasons than just to run…I almost lost this battle, and to be honest I think I’m still fighting it, but now I not only run for those with MS, but I run for me, and I run for the thing that I just recently discovered kept me going….kept my battery alive….my best friend since I was 12 years old….

Running long distances isn’t just a physical challenge. In fact, it may be even more of a mental & emotional battle that in the end if not dealt with could be what ends up destroying your ambition.

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“The Battle I Nearly Lost” Part 1: Deciding & Anticipating Applying to be a MS Run the US Relay Runner

ImageRunning long distances isn’t just a physical challenge. In fact, it may be even more of a mental & emotional battle that in the end if not dealt with could be what ends up destroying your ambition…

I chose to apply to be a MS Run the US relay runner at such an inopportune time in my life some would say…maybe even myself if you happen to catch me on the wrong day. 

I knew when I was considering applying to be a relay runner,  I was only months away from marrying the man of my dreams & being on the opposite side of the country from my family & close friends  that 100% of the planning would lie on my shoulders.  Despite the challenges I had already foreseen, I shared my ambition with my fiancé & he was extremely supportive & encouraging at the thought of me participating in a cause that meant so much to me.

As a couple, we agreed that I would apply to be a runner both knowing that the next several months would not be easy, but we looked at it as an opportunity to work as a team that would only make us stronger as a unit both before & after our wedding scheduled for February 8th.

There was a waiting period of 4 months before I would know the results of my application. During this time, I tried to focus on wedding planning & it definitely was overwhelming all alone.  In the back of my mind I had no idea how I would begin a long distance running program, raise funds for MS, and continue planning our wedding & our “other side of the globe” honeymoon, but I didn’t care. I knew I wanted to do it ALL!

Well, the time came & past for my phone interview, and I still had to wait another month before I would hear if I was a relay runner or not. During this month, the real emotional & mental battle officially began.  I started thinking about the details….what being a relay runner actually meant. During my phone interview, I learned that I may be on TV, radio stations, in newspapers & the question came up if I wanted to share that I had the disease that I’d be running & raising funds for. I’ve kept it “quiet” from most of the people in my life. I had so much of an internal battle going on I didn’t know how to deal with it that I just decided I would deal with that decision later.  My faith led me to believe God would let me know how to handle it.

Well, I got my letter that I was accepted as a runner & all of the questions & worrying were washed away….all the signs were there…I was MEANT to do this. I was MEANT to be a runner. I was MEANT to be diagnosed & tell my story and there was no better time than the present….the time was NOW…& I jumped in face first eager to take on the world!

I immediately wrote my running program that would begin on December 15th & end on the first day of my relay segment….May 5th. It consisted of 5 months of the greatest amount of running I’ve ever attempted before. The first week began with 5 days of running 3-10 miles each day to & ended with running 6 days a week of 12-28 miles each day.  It was a journey I began & didn’t stop to look back.

My training dedication started off fantastic!!!  I stuck with my plan exactly; never wavering away from it. Even if I was sick; I still went outside & did what I was supposed to do even if it meant jogging slow or even walking. As soon as I was about 80% I was back to my regimen without fault once again. I stuck with my running program up until the week of the wedding….

Stay tuned for Part 2…

 

 

 

 

 

Receiving a Diagnosis

Part-III

Receiving a diagnosis that you have a permanent, debilitating disease is devastating. No matter what the diagnosis, you have to endure the words, “You have _______.” Those words are probably the hardest 3 words you may ever be faced with in your life or have already had the dreadful experience of being faced with. For me, I heard the words, “You have MS.” They were the hardest 3 words I ever had to endure.

It’s never good news to receive a permanent diagnosis, and how a person deals with it usually varies among each individual. I believe that everyone that has received such a diagnosis remembers everything about it down to the last detail. At times, it might be “blurry” because you may have tried to forget or block it out of your memory especially if your initial reaction was denial, but no matter what you can recall that day, that time, those terrible words.

My neurologist appointment was at 10am on April 29, 2008 to receive all of my test results. I took the entire day off of work and school.  My mother traveled three hours to accompany me to the appointment. I was trembling as we walked into the clinic. My mom held my hand in the waiting room as we patiently waited for my name to be called.

When I heard my name, I slowly rose from my chair and we followed the nurse back to the same room I was in just a few weeks prior. The neurologist walked in & I was expecting him to say something, some sort of news that would help in calming my fears. Instead, he said he didn’t have all of my results yet. He never received my spinal tap results, so he picked up his phone to call the lab. As he read my results & the “normal range” I already knew before he even hung up the phone I was going to hear the dreaded 3 words. Although, I didn’t realize how awful I would feel until I actually heard him say them.

When we were excused out of the office to give it time to “soak-in” my mom held me in that hospital hallway as I cried every tear I had in me to shed.

If you ever hear or have already heard the words “You have _______,” just know that you are not alone. It may feel like it at the time, but you are not.