Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bark Less, Wag More!

I really haven't had the time to post lately.
My tummy woes have been pretty good.
And I have no complaints on how my training is going.
Coach is in Florida, taking a break from the cold, so I followed his directions for my Wednesday Track Work Out. It was a good little workout: 1.5mile warm-up, six 100meter strides and two 1.5miles of speed work. I was supposed to run 7:20pace, but I wound up doing 7:08min/mile pace. The cool down between runs was a 1/2mile jog. I ran couple miles cool down and I was off to a warm shower (it was so windy and cold on the track) and my Medical Nutrition Therapy class.

Coach has me running a 4mile next day "recovery from speed work" run, and 6miles the following day - which has really been better than going for 5miles on the 2 days following my speed work. During that 6mile run, I have actually had the energy to do some pick-ups here and there: 10seconds fast, 20 seconds slow, fast up hills, slow down hills. I like this new weekly schedule.

School has been going pretty good - all 80's and 90's - on reports, quizzes and exams. I am learning a good deal on how much the media lags behind medical nutrition findings. I've been seeing how this pans out in society. At the hospital, the nutritionists have a hard time getting patient's to change their ideas on foods because a doctor told the patient something - five/ten years ago, which was the thinking then - but has since been disproven!

Besides training, studying, cooking and cleaning for my family, and trying to help my daughter with her college applications, I have done some visiting and reaching out to some people in my life who are struggling with health issues. My Mom-in-law, who has done an excellent job at combating her non-Hodgkins lymphoma for the last 12years, is now failing. Her ascites is causing pressure on her diaphragm and spine, making her lower extremities feel as if they are on fire and causing a tremendous amount of pain. Hospice care is monitoring/managing her pain and administering palliative care. It's hard to see anyone in pain, especially a person who has been so wonderful to you. I am very blessed because I know, I have had THE ABSOLUTE GREATEST MOTHER-IN-LAW of all time. I can probably count on one hand the number of people I know that can say that. My brother-in-law and I share a joke - we both say that we married our spouses because we fell in love with our mother-in-law! I know if he read this, he'd say, "I'm not joking! Why'd you say I'm joking?" ...love ya', Tom!

I also had the opportunity to sit with my friend, here in town. What a great lady. She's the kind of person you like to listen to 'cause she approaches life in a very clear cut manner. Life, from her perspective is simple, there are no bells and whistles, you just do what you gotta do in life. Right now, she's gotta get herself healthy. No bells and whistles, she has to go through the chemo and radiation treatments, and beat her newly diagnosed lung cancer that has been 'causing complications with her brain. I can't even come to say/write what's going on - let alone imagine what she and her family are going through or how they are dealing with everything. I did tell my friend about Warrior Woman, an amazing woman who beat brain cancer. Part of it, I think was Warrior Woman's positive thinking - each time she went for chemo/radiation treatments, she told me that she would look at her son, then about three/four years old, and tell him,
"Mommy is going to kick some cancer butt today!" 
Wow! 
Right? 
Just, Wow!
God, I hope my friend kicks some cancer ASS!
So, after visiting with Mom and my friend, here in town, I lost it a little. A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream of another friend, Anne, who lives 1/2 way across the country. Anne is a StageIV breast cancer survivor. The cancer metastasized and traveled to her bones and brain. She was all clear this past May - Eight years in remission.
Anne is another female hero of mine. 
Another person who looks at life very simply - 
you just do what you gotta do. 
That's it. 
So, when she called in June to tell me she was diagnosed with a different form of brain cancer, I was so unbelieving that I defied her.
"No, girl, I have a very aggressive brain tumor and I am already losing control of my left side." 
WTF?
Anne and her family decided to be very private with her care and progress of the disease this time around. Her sister posts updates on Caring Bridges, but after my dream, I wanted to reach out. I called the house, I called Anne's cell - no answer. No return call. Okay, so I Googled her husband's name. I know he's a vet, and I found out where he works. I wrote down the number, but didn't call.
Side-kick told me not to call - that I must respect their choice to be private. 
I couldn't take it anymore, especially this week, after seeing people I love in pain and knowing that I can't touch Anne and her family, I can't give them hugs, or pray with them - it's just too much. So, I called her husband's work and left a message. He, like Anne, is so kind - kind enough to call me back. It's hard not to be able to help - I said a bunch of stupid crap, which I know didn't make sense and won't help - what do you say? I guess I just wanted Anne's family to know that I'm praying for them and that I care.
I said to Anne's husband, "You must be so proud of the girls?" 
They have 3 girls, who are all pitching in and helping to make Anne as comfortable as possible. Of course he agreed. I said that it's amazing that they don't take the "Poor Me" approach. He told me,
"No, they would never. Anne didn't raise them that way. 
In fact, Anne always said, 'Why not me? Why should I be special?'"
"Yeah," I said, "but, Uncle!"
I told him how I told my Mom-in-law that I sometimes feel that God has earphones in and is listening to loud music! She gave me a response, that I thought Anne and my friend here in town would say,
"Good for Him!"
It's amazing, how these very strong and selfless women all have one thing in common: they're all about their family. They are grateful in life just because they were blessed with a family.
That's it. 
Nothing fancy - they love their family.
I am blessed because I know them.
Each day, I hear Anne's favorite expression in my head and I'm trying (really hard) to make it a reality, in my life:
Bark Less, Wag More!


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