Monday, March 3, 2014

Measure A Year

March is a month that has been significant for three years running. I’ve blogged about it before ( It’s a month that every year has had some impact for a while. In March 2011, I had brain cancer surgery followed by a few weeks of recovery and rehab. It tells you something about how quickly Kiana’s mother left that the divorce papers state that’s when we stopped living as a married couple despite the fact she was the last person I talked to before heading to brain surgery in that same month. One year later to the day, in March 2012, for the second time, I got to wake up in an ambulance in the middle of a 10 mile run followed by three weeks of medical tests. In March 2013, I had a marathon win followed by a couple of weeks of media while having custody hearings that suggested I was endangering my daughter by running with her in a race due to my medical issues. So far in March of 2014, all I did was a short run followed by 30 minutes of hold time regarding medical bills... That's all progress right?

Actually for a guy who doesn’t ever celebrate his birthday and wanted to skip his college graduation (I’m not very ceremonial), on Saturday I did my long run with a new route, simply running out to the hospital where this all started and back, passing twice by the place where they do my MRI’s, looking at the imaging building unsure whether to say thank you for the fact it’s been stable or flipping it the bird for the fact I have to check at all (I did neither but a couple of other cancer survivors and I mentioned how we’re shocked they don’t send us Christmas cards). These are my ceremonies, my quiet acknowledgements, and the truth is that run hasn’t been mentioned to anyone till now (here I hide again by sharing it with everyone). But my mother was in town and made a great breakfast. And as it’s true far too often, Kiana got a slightly more mischievous smile than usual when grandparents are in town. Maybe cutting up some mangoes with 3 generations is a better acknowledgement anyway.

I went dancing twice during the first weekend in March (I’ve gone dancing 5 times in the last 4 weeks and done only one race, someone tell me again what my favorite exercise is). One was a great house dance party, the other Texas Two Stepping… I went to church where I sat much further up than I usually do. I made some arts and crafts with Kiana. I started the month with people, friends and family I love and some with people I’d just met…. These are my ceremonies and I hope they will continue to be.

During the weekend, I also started working my playlist for the return to the Gusher Marathon. People have given me a hard time about the fact that I’m not running the marathon (which is tough because I love to defend titles, plus no one has ever won it two years in a row!!!) but I am sticking with the plan of doing the half. Because for me the truth will always be that I didn’t win that marathon, I came in second and so going with only half the team, I can only half accurately represent. But going back one year later,  I’ve added a song I’ve been listening to Rent’s 525,600 minutes (

In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year in the life?
How about love?
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?
In truths that she learned
in times that he cried
In bridges he burned or the way that she died
It's time now, to sing out
Though the story never ends
Let's celebrate
Remember a year in the life of friends

By truths Kians’s learned, by the times that I cry, in miles, laughter and strife, this is how I hope I keep measuring life,  I’ve turned down some cool races to do smaller ones with Kiana (the only one ever mentioned anywhere was mentioned outside of here so I’ll repeat, I passed up the New York Marathon). Trust me what I did that weekend and doing the 5 miler with Kiana around Central Park two weeks later was more than worth that choice. Oddly enough the weekends I’ve had the most conflicts (the only weekends I’ve had 3 invitations) were the ones of the Austin marathon where I wanted to be there both to do our first 5k with Kiana and to watch people I deeply care about finish their first marathon or their distance challenge or their PR. The second weekend with conflicts is this upcoming weekend of the Gusher Marathon. There was never a question that I’d be at either because I keep my commitments but more importantly because I’d rather hang out with friends for a few minutes at home than with famous people on any stage for hours. And both being Kiana’s sidekick in that 5k and the fact that I got to hand out medals at the Austin marathon and will get to do so at the Gusher race, well I’m glad to be the “lights and sound” on someone else’s stage for these races. Lights and sound are things you notice unless they do something wrong so I hope to get my “lights and sound” medal hanging done as well as I believe I did it in Austin.

In Rent, there are people struggling with AIDS. Now we can judge people with STD’s the way sometimes those with cancers who have a more active behavioral cause (smoking and lung cancer). I certainly am not afraid of being judged but I’m also a fan of the old idea that unless you have no sin, one shouldn’t be too in big of a hurry to be casting stones. There are those of my friends who remember a day where cancer had a bigger stigma than it has now… that’s still true in too much of Latin America, where my roots. But perhaps, showing where I used to work in juvenile probation, I wonder if we shouldn’t be more like those judges. The people on the bench certainly pass down judgment but they do it in hope and an active plan to be helpful. If I judge just to feel better about my choices… I’m not sure that we’re in that separate of camps where our actions and attitudes are about helping ourselves just to feel good. Anyway… how did I go off on that tangent…

Here in 2014, I am glad the first two months have started more calmly than ever. In March of 2014 unlike pass years, there are no medical appointments, no court sessions, no marathons. But if all goes well, in March there will be dancing, people whose company is amazing during the talking, during the listening, during the quiet. The biggest fight I'll have is watching Kiana guard her hot chocolate when I ask for some it. Three years since brain surgery today and I hope this March is kind of a calm one. Either way, I am glad and grateful to have gotten to measure one more year of life.