Thursday, September 6, 2012

Go the Distance

Today, I am sitting and talking with my friend Andy Stewart, a guy who used to sell brain surgery equipment and was the connecting with Livestrong. From there, I meet with the counselor I’ve been meeting with for over a year. Then I go to my neurologist to sign off on these things and decide whether or not to apply. The guy who has always decided things a million years in advance still hasn’t decided whether to let pride win or not. And as I’ve said a thousand time, the kid factor changes it a way that nothing else does.

I feel fine, I feel like I am fine but I also felt that way before waking up in ambulances. I felt that way while muscles trembled for me 24 hours and as I massaged them wouldn’t stop. I felt fine as apparently I repeat myself in a conversation and am not aware of it. I feel fine when I get lost on places I should know and when I go into another room and forget why. And when I go back and read these blogs or emails, I realize that they don’t always say exactly what I intended to, sometimes miles from it. My father is an alcoholic… well he’s a drunk. Alcoholics go to meetings and the very thing they have to say is to admit they have a problem… I’m not sure that almost 2 years later I have fully done so. Perhaps like a pregnancy or like a relationship there are progressive steps that happen that help you adjust to some changes. But the second part of the AA phrase is that we are powerless to stop it… I can’t control cancer but I want to believe that the neuropsychological rehab, the exercise, staying connected to people, hugging that little girl matter, that they somehow have a truth, a force that the universe improves the odds.

I applied for a job yesterday helping people who are 1st generation immigrants to go to college. I also am smelling different when I sweat according to my cousin who lives with me and she wonders if it’s because of the different medication. I’ve been running with Kiana and stole an idea from some running friends playbook that literally is telling people everytime I cross a mile marker. The Brainpower5k is this Sunday and I am going to taper (work out less), something I’ve never done for anything other than a marathon because I want to leave it all out there for the race that helped start me on this journey and keeps me on the journey that despite whatever losses come, I still have so damn much to be grateful for.

I am also trying to get some things legally in place of what happens if I am incapacitated either for a short or long time with Kiana… For a guy who theoretically inspires people, a friend sent me a kind message about how they trained for their first 5k, another for their first half, and another who got up from an injured back because I got up off the ground and ran 15 miles two days later… for a guy who inspires people, I sure feel lost. But maybe talking to each other is how to continue… a friend today asked for my contact info because his sister just got diagnosed with lymphoma. In my ever cheesy, listening to songs approach I’ve been listening to Go the Distance from the kids movie

I will find my way
I can go the distance
I'll be there some day
If I can be strong.
I know every mile
Will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere
To feel like I belong

Some places I’m not sure where I belong, on this disability decision, on employment on relationships but I do try to hang on to the places where I do. I just don’t know where the finish line is… so I keep signing up for these races that have clear mile markers and finish lines, keep training with the group that helped so much, the one I insisted on wearing their shirt during the Livestrong shoot.  I’ve walked Kiana to school now 7 times in her first 8 days of school and stay there till they get done with their daily announcements, daily pledges to the flags of the US and Texas and a moment of silence, which can be used for prayers or quiet times. Being a photographer, I originally did not sign up for her school pictures but did so today at the last moment, trusting and daring to dream that I still have them to embarrass her when the time proper comes ;).  And I belong with family and friends and this year while I am not the leading fundraiser of the brainpower 5k (so far at more than I raised last year, somehow I am more proud of the fact that my team is the leading team and that I created a team which currently has 16 people!). Above all, 3 generations will cross that finish line, my mother, myself and me, the first event so far where all of us are active participants. So I can’t control who will be there or if I get to repeat my title but the measures I hope to have some effect over, the fact that I’ve raised more money this year, the fact that my team is bigger and the fact that I hope this will be the first time I break 18 minutes… mean something, mean a lot.
We’re putting together a relay team for a marathon relay from the Ship of Fools in a couple of weeks, then I am helping though not the director of an ultimate tournament, then running that half marathon with my mom, pushing my daughter and me, then back to Duke, then a 100 mile bike ride with Livestrong, this time with me borrowing a friend’s bike and, then a 10 mile race raising money for charity.

Kiana’s first school portraits are today and I let her pick out her outfit completely on her own (figured it might be even more embarrassing in a few years if she has to explain why she picked out the outfit). It becomes fairly obvious that the guy who is encouraging such independency in his daughter struggles with having any dependence on anyone else.

Matt Ellfson, the guy who created Hawktober, has been chosen as an ambassador for the Austin marathon and for Luke’s locker, both organizations which I’m a big fan of. I begin to understand why he and Amy Dodson the girl who is missing a leg and still doing triathlons took some of this public display slowly and Amy hid the cancer for quite a while. The guy who breaks five minute miles and says what’s on his mind blurted the spurts from the beginning to friends and in this blog because he was and is afraid that his memory will betray him like other things have in his life but still… but time, time gives perspective and Amy’s and Matt’s and my own have some when things are behind you that you don’t have immediately.
Here’s hoping I can go the distance. 

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