“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.

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.