Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fueled the Fire

Each of us are driven by different things… are some better than others? I don’t know. But my drive has always rhymed with that spirit in that I’m competitive with my entire best race times being somewhere where someone was trying to catch up to me or vice versa near the end. It’s the way I’m wired and well, there’s nothing that the surgery changed about that.  But my soft side is that I have the prettiest, smartest, coolest, little girl the world has ever seen (if you think so too, we’re both probably right J). Most people let their emotions get in the way of their logic. I’m pretty logic driven and one of my serious faults is that I let my logic get in the way of my emotions. Neither should always win.

But the surgery and the last 18 months taught me that life is unpredictable emotionally and logically. My spirit has been pretty down the last few weeks. It worries people but remember the last time it was down, the blog went silent for a while. It wasn’t because I stopped processing emotions it was because I started another blog, which was just a lot of raw emotions addressed to Kiana’s mother. For those who think I have no sense of privacy… well it’s private and Kiana will be the only whoever gets to read it when it’s age appropriate. I’ve been so close to that proverbial feather in the camel’s back that as I sat and talked with a friend in Thailand, she told me to stay positive that I had a good run for 29+ years and that she thinks another good run will come. I tried to take her spirit but ultimately said, maybe this story would have been better if it ended on that surgery table. She said she disagreed and that we’d see each other somewhere down the line.

But today, the fuel came back on in a burst of flame, that spark of hope I’d held on with both hands raged. Kiana’s mother starts her extended visit with her and an email exchange between her and I was what I needed to get back on board. I asked when she would be dropping her off at daycare and what time she would be picking her up so that I could spend some of that time with her. She responded with that she didn’t want me doing that… which makes no sense to me whatsoever because it’s not like it’s costing time with her. In the internet age, searching for jobs is two hours of being online and I’ve started doing it faithfully and have some job interviews coming up next week but because it’s not like the old days of going from place to place… well, Kiana has gotten to sleep in and we’ve been playing together till about lunch everyday because it’s summer time. Let me be clear and I have no apologies for this but there will never come a day where I sing a document with me spending less time with my daughter unless I believe it necessary. So I am signing up for less medical coverage than I had but I will have some, there will not be the world’s best at Duke but no one will ever be able to present that I neglected my healthcare or monitoring my health which could be construed as putting my child at risk.

I applied for some jobs today and while I hope I find a job I believe in, I will clean toilets with a toothbrush for the rest of my life if necessary. If I’m monitoring things, my docs are okay with me training so I also am thinking, in that competitive streak, there’s a title to defend or at least a time to beat in the next Livestrong marathon so I might have signed up today for that as well. You can label that conviction or that increased impulsivity the surgery gave me. A friend from running reminded me that I am not a quitter and that this is a stupid time to give that up.  I am not a perfect example as a parent or as of anything and I have some serious flaws (again, if you’re a parent who isn’t or if you have some specific criticism of me, I’ll take it) but if I teach Kiana anything at all, it’s that you are there for your friends and family in any way you can. You have to work on the relationships you want to keep I said in the Livestrong video. Before I had a kid, I talked to Laura, a coworker about how I was okay not living to be too old, someone in their mid twenties sees old people as well… “old” and has no jealousy. She said once you have children you’ll hang on as long as you can just to catch more of their life. I am not afraid of dying but I don’t  want to miss a moment of that child’s life. It’s interesting what keeps each of us fighting for life. I’ll take my reason.
Man the things that fuel my fire. Making money never has… owning things never has. But realizing my health and getting it together will help me catch more of my daughter’s life, I applied for a few more jobs today and I went to my first cross fit work out ever (it hurt like hell but to quote Aerosmith, sometimes love don’t feel like it should, it hurt so good) and then I went to my running groups hill workout for the first time in a while and did the harder work out and came in first. Maybe life’s hills will take me out, maybe I’ll die of this but I’m not giving up yet.  I am open to new possibilities in many things reflected by the fact that I’ve tried pilates, crossfit, track distance races. In each of those I’ve asked how they relate to running but even if running isn’t forever, maybe there is something to them. Pilates, after one hour of workout ( made me be two inches closer to touching my toes than I have ever gotten. Crossfit I will at least still some of the techniques because they are meant to k eep you functional. It hasn’t all been exercising; I’ve tried some some new foods since these changes (crawfish are gross in my book, krispy kreme burgers are gross in my book, gyros are great, shrimps not too bad and oreos apparently mix well with everything; the people who are there when I try these things for the first time mock how “sheltered” my life has been).

Luckily Kiana has been there to try many of things with me. I may have to get rid of the house or the dog, both things I’m emotionally and logically? connected to and Kiana is too so that makes it hard so I’ll slow down as best as I can on those. I don’t know how to deal with that and how she’ll handle those transitions if they are necessary. But Kiana is tough and fearless which somtimes scares the crap out of me. She climbs high on trees. When we were at the Dam that Cancer party where a few friends raised money for therapy for people dealing with cancer, she went and talked to kids with no problems. No one worthwhile in my book says on their death bed, I wish I’d spent less time with my kids. In a Steve Jobs interview, a man who invented tons of gadgets(several of which I use daily) and died incredibly rich, said he wrote down his story because he recognized he hadn’t always been there for his kids. I don’t know when or where my deathbed is coming but that is the one things I’m committed to saying on my deathbed, I busted my ass in every way I knew how to be there for my children. I may be wrong and Kiana may grow to be more materialistic than me and wish I’d provided her with more stuff and more money. But I grew up pretty poor and there were days where we ate nothing but tortillas and salt but I got to eat them with my mom. Before we would come to the US as a family, she tried to send me with my uncles to better this or that and I fought like hell because those thigns were not important to me. I wanted to be with her. That was 25 years ago and I’m beyond certain that I made the right decision to kick and cry to not be separated from a mother who is still here as often as she can.

I dare to dream that presence is as if not more important providing material goods. At the Boston Marathon I was still going hard until I saw my mom and my brother and hugged Kiana. As I was sitting during the run, the 2nd damn hottest one in 116 years of Boston history, I realized, “I put off dying to come out here, I didn’t come out here to die.” And then I realized that if my Boston time was good, great. If it wasn’t and I got injured and complicated Kiana’s life, nothing was worth that. I told my friend Megan that who states that things happen for a reason and where they were at was God telling you to slow down and be intelligent about your priorities. I don’t know if that’s true but I want to keep living to keep providing those hugs and best example I know how to, which to means you do try but not at the risk of those you love unless absolutely necessary. Every once in a while I still get complimented on my tattoo, I got it the day after the follow up at Duke. It took 5.5 hours, longer than any marathon ever did, longer than my surgery did. It also hurt more than either of those and what it symbolizes will always mean more. That’s what fuels my fire. 

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