Sunday, December 1, 2013

What's Coming Tomorrow

Well, I have my next MRI tomorrow. I’d love to say that I’m not nervous or scared but that would be far less than honest. Still, while a few other choice four letter words go through my head when the appointments start up, hope is the four letter word I choose to hold onto. I’ve done four races in November, 3 titles, and 2  PR’s. That may tell you a lot about my psychology that the running is often just a way to shout out with my legs that I’d much rather the races test the system than that weird machines do it.

People are shocked to find out with the fact that I don’t work that I rarely sit around. Or even that I still haven’t spent any extra time training because well that’s just not where I want to spend my life. I volunteer in many places when Kiana’s not around because I want to contribute. Perhaps the upside of the driving restriction is getting from place to place on the bicycle both kills time and gives you thinking time. But on the days before medical appointments, I try to create a flurry of stuff if for no other reason than to not have time to think about the uncontrollable.

Kiana headed out with her mom for the weekend after Thanksgiving. Kiana asked me what the weather was before leaving and I simply answered that it was Kiana hugging weather with a big squeeze. She said that was the weather everyday and I was not being helpful in picking up her clothes. Obviously, I am super macho and manly and didn’t even considering tearing up at all at such a sentimental comment from a six year old. It's a lot easier when she's around before medical tests because she makes the focus of why I'm fighting easier and it takes all my energy to try to keep up with her/

I ran 18 miles on Saturday. It’s funny that there are actually zero marathons that I have any commitment to but I’m still training like there’s one waiting out there for me. But then there came a chance to defend a title. I haven’t made it to all of them but call it pride or a measurement but any race I win, I try to go back and defend the title the next year. Most of them do not get repeated but it measures where I stand from year to year. The only two titles I’d managed to defend this year were the Cancer Division champion of the Livestrong Austin Marathon and the Stroller Division of the Turkey Trot. But there was still one left, Austin’s annual beer mile. It’s a simple concept, chug a beer, run a lap, and repeat (for last year’s recount, I’d never even heard of it and the simple reality is that of all the titles that I might not have repeated I could have lived without that one without any problem. And I’m not really supposed to get drunk and it tells you something that the only 3 times I’ve drank anywhere near seriously was at three charity races, the two beer miles and Austin’s red dress run, each one about a year apart (neither my mom nor my doctors approve of me taking too much alcohol but if it's done annually I don't get reprimanded too badly). So while I don’t normally drink beer but when I do I repeat as Austin’s beer mile champion by drinking dos equis. And if you rarely drink and then do it while sprinting, your head gets to where it's swimming fast. Apparently, I hugged a few people and slapped a few people’s asses.  Now you’re wishing you’d signed up for the event eh? I am amused that the only titles I managed to defend were a cancer marathon, a 5 mile stroller race and a beer mile. It perhaps shows the diversity of events I do but it may at some level reflect my priorities as well.

Still, after dinner and sobering up, we went downtown to dance with some people from the running group. I rarely go downtown and while Kiana and I dance all the time, it’s usually at home.  I’m always amused at that old phrase dance like no one’s looking because when you’re dancing unless you’re extremely good at it or extremely bad at it, odds are no one’s looking anyway so just enjoy it. I am more of the old song that some dance to remember and some dance to forget. The guy with memory problems when he dances usually dances to remember but on a weekend where I can’t quite shake the fact that an MRI is just around the corner, well I’m dancing to forget (as an aside, no problem during the runs or races but my IT band cramped up on the dance floor; oh well at least the girl I was dancing with was both cute and smart because any girl who dances with me has to be brilliant right?).

I’ve been in videos for trying to respond to life under not normal circumstances. Different people need different things around medical appointments. I obviously need a driver for some of them but even after the MRI, two miles away from my home, I’ve made it clear I’m running home afterwards. I’ve done that before and I usually throw up from whatever contrast they inject in the middle of the test. And people have helped in many ways during many of the messes of the last few years… but for me some of the biggest help on days like today, the day before appointments and tomorrow and Tuesday, the days of appointments, is remarkably and simply complicated. I remarked about this when talking about Job’s friends ( but there are days when the biggest help are those who realize they don’t need to do something, they just stand there.  A few days after the diagnosis, it was a friend who flew in and just hugged you on your couch, a friend who watched you cry in the waiting room, a friend who brought good food, they patted you on the thigh or on the back. Sometime, it was just someone you could make eye contact with in the middle of the appointment and know that even if things weren't going to be okay, that moment itself was more okay because of that contact. For me, it was not something they said, but it was just that were there in presence, in text, in thought, in prayer. Now, I just came from church and I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again, I’ve never prayed to beat this and never will. I just am glad that Life itself has provided people who are there to share the moments with you that creep you out.  

People ask about the financial problems and I finally have come up with saying that I’m not poor, I’m broke. Because fortunately the insurance I’m on, I’m still in a house with equity so when push comes to shove, I can sell it and have some money. And those are all stressors that if you have a magic wand, please fix them but I'm guessing no one does. So in that case don't just do something, stand there.  I always just kind of am remembered of what my grandpa said, “If it’s about money, don’t worry about it, we don’t have any.” 

But for me, perhaps for most people at most times, life is just a little bit better if when you defend the title of just being yourself, there’s friends and family around to share yourself with.  While she may never understand it’s full significance, I took the liberty of getting Kiana a music box. It’s penguins because in that species it’s mostly the male that does the parenting.   It that plays the tune of an old classic, she’ll get an early Christmas
present on the day of the MRI, tomorrow:

Oh! We ain't got a barrel of money 
Maybe we're ragged and funny 
But we'll travel along 
Singing a song 
Side by side 

I don't know what's a-comin' tomorrow 
Maybe it's trouble and sorrow 
But we'll travel the road 
Sharing our load 
Side by side 

And no matter what else, that's coming tomorrow. 

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