I hit enter. Click.
And just like that I was registered for my first 1/2 marathon.
What better way to lose the post baby weight than to register and run for a first half marathon? Let the training begin.
Post baby body: Under construction.
Then the cough came.
Then the shortness of breath.
Pair that with drenched night sweats and itchy legs.
Post baby body: Put on pause.
Half marathon: Put on pause.
There is no pause for that.
January of 2014 is around the time cancer revealed it’s ugly self to me. The cancer that always seemed to belong to someone else, was now my burden to carry. Cancer for a 31 year old, healthy mom of 2.
That was my new role.
New goal: survive.
I was a mom- I had two boys, three and three months.
I was a mom with everything to fight for.
I was a mom with cancer.
That half marathon was going to have to wait.
As a blood cancer patient, I remember some of those first conversations about the treatment. 12 rounds of chemo. Possible radiation. Hair loss. Remission. Relapse. Infertility. Plan B. All of that.
|Life Post Cancer Has New Meaning
I remember the discussion about a particular treatment drug lovingly called the “red devil” that could have a long term impact on my lungs. My oncologist talked about lung scarring, and as easy as it could’ve been to think about the effects. I stayed focused on the steps, not the potential effects.
You see, when cancer hits, your mind searches for answers, for logic. You want to know numbers, stats, and expectancy. You crave control. You seek out understanding. But I couldn’t think about the logistics. I took each day as it came. I knew my prognosis. I knew the long term treatment plan. But I remained focused on the daily plan. I couldn’t think about the fear or the effects. There wasn’t room in my mind to carry that burden.
As treatments continued, I started to see the long term vision, although somewhat blurred, the vision of a run, my run, my half marathon was there.
I didn’t know when I would be able to run. I didn’t know when my lungs would allow it. I didn’t know how but I think even then, faith carried me through the treatments. I just believed my body would recover. So I kept focusing on the small steps.
I have been in remission for 2 1/2 years. It hasn’t been an easy recovery. Healing takes time. And I wasn’t ready to run.
The other day I was out for a run. Actually, day 35 of my training to be exact, and I knew I had 6 miles to cover. It would be my longest run to date. And I thought to myself, how? How do I will my breathing, my feet, my body to overcome my mindset and just run?
I’m not exactly sure of the “how” but I think it’s like this. Like chemo, ya know, you get this diagnosis. You get this course of treatment and your mind immediately goes to- how long? how hard? how much?
But when you stop thinking about the “how” and start moving towards the “why,” each small step becomes a personal win.
And that’s how treatment was. I focused on each individual treatment bringing me one small step closer to remission. I started to see myself as a survivor. I started to see the vision of a 1/2 marathon finish line.
But my focus was on the small steps- one foot in front of the other, one step and then one more.
And I see running like that…
13 miles scare me. I don’t know how I am going to do it..
But I have a feeling faith will carry me.
On days where my thoughts wander to survivorship, or relapse, or survivors’ guilt, I find myself grounded on one idea:
One sweat at a time.
Every. Sweat. Matters.
Sweet friends, sometimes, you don’t know the “how”. The burden feels heavy. And the prayers feel unanswered.
Sometimes the fear can creep in. Sometimes it’s the doubt. Just keep your eyes focused on the path in front of you. And keep your footsteps in faith.
You can do hard things. Faith will carry you.