One foot in front of the other…

The cartoon movie “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” would play once every Christmas season when I was a kid. This was, of course, pre-cartoon network or movie channels on TV. There was a catchy tune that he sang to the Winter Warlock called “one foot in front of the other.” It went through my head a lot today, and I said it more than once. Today was my long run for the half marathon training with the Faster Stronger Runner group. I would need to go over 5 miles on my uncooperative foot. The first couple of miles was ok & I was able to visit some with fellow runners. Then my foot went numb and my hip hurt, so I walked a while.

I felt like there was such a battle going on in my head. Feeling not enough crossed my mind more than once. “Maybe I should just run at home instead.” “How am I going to go 8 more miles when it comes to May?” You get the idea. So I slowed down and allowed the feeling to come back into my foot. I became thankful that I’m able to walk/jog at all… It’s a privilege we often take for granted. My mind went back to last April when I broke my left foot – and I was thankful that I was no longer in a boot or using a knee scooter. And I reflected on all that I had overcome in the last year, & I was able to jog again.

An admitted introvert, sometimes this time alone is good for me. As long as I can steer towards the glass half full, it can be a time to recharge. I also found both a dime and a penny on my run- significant to me, symbolizing those who are watching over me. This made me a a little teary eyed. Even though I took a couple of wrong turns, I found my way back (with an added half mile “detour”.) It’s such a great group of people – very encouraging, never making me feel like I don’t belong. Running reminds me of pregnancy… At first you think, “I can do this.” Then is the “this sucks, I’m never doing this again” stage. Finally is the amnesia stage, “that wasn’t so bad, I can do it again.” By the time I was in the shower, I hit the amnesia stage.

So when asked how my run was, “I put one foot in front of the other.” And I did. And it was enough for today. Sometimes that’s all we can do. Peace be with you on your journey of enough.


Warrior… I like that

Today was my oncology follow up. Once again I was a little more nervous than I had prepared to be. Once again, I went alone… armed with my notebook of questions. I’m not sure what I was nervous about. I didn’t expect him to find anything. I think it’s because this wasn’t supposed to happen in the first place that puts those thoughts in my head.

Anyway, it went well. He didn’t find anything to be concerned about. Yeah!! Wheew. Once again, I’m relieved that I had a good report. I’ve been struggling with joint pain since November and I brought that up. All of the positive thinking wasn’t making it any better… and now I am attempting to run a half marathon? He suggested a week or two off my current meds and see if I notice a difference. If I feel better, then it was related to meds and he will switch me to a different kind of “anti-cancer/hormone” med. If it’s the same, then it’s menopause related. (Still no hot flashes though – hurrah!!) Dizziness/vertigo and pain in my foot – not sure what all of that is. Will see if either get any better.

Still having too many “what if” feelings, so I’ll meet with someone from Roger Maris to talk about ways of coping after cancer. Also found a saying that I like – referring to being a “warrior” instead of “survivor.” I kind of like warrior so here it is:

I wouldn’t say I’ve been through hell, but it was quite a year. Here’s to a great 2016. Peace be with you on your journey of enough. 

Up hill

Have you ever walked, run, biked or hiked up a big hill? I feel like I’m at the bottom of the hill & it’s called “the teen years of your firstborn.” I’m at the bottom of the hill, looking up, wondering how I’m going to get up it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son. He’s great. It’s me I’m worried about. Lately I have a huge heaping spoonful of mommy guilt & not being “good enough.” It kind of feels like a lump in my throat.

This is a tough one to talk about. I wasn’t previously aware of different parenting skills. Would mine be good enough? I grew up with loving parents so I assumed that most people love their kids & they turn out ok. (I’m admittedly naive that way) Having been married 7 years before having our first son, I had lots of time to prepare. But then again, how could I prepare? How do you prepare for the firsts with your first child?  How do you prepare for bullies & heartbreaks, science fairs & math tests and to go through the teen years again? I remember graduating high school and being SO glad to be done with it. Glad I never have to do that again!! But I was wrong. Kind of like how people don’t tell you all the bad & scary parts of pregnancy, labor or your 40’s…people neglect to remind you that you DO have to go through the teen years again. This time, as a parent.

There have been a lot of articles out there about your kids & missing out on things and how to let them experience life. Articles that leave me in tears. The 13 year old in front of me is still my first baby. I realize that these past 13 years, I’ve been preparing us both for this time in our lives (whether I knew it or not.) But I still wonder if I did enough. Did I lay a good enough foundation to get us both through the next 5 years and beyond? I failed at teaching him to chew with his mouth shut, what else did I fail at? Did I gain his trust so he will tell me about his life? It really is a balance between letting them experience things and guiding & directing them.

For me, as a parent, I really want him to be a good person. While he may struggle with math, I want him to do the best that he can. I don’t expect him to get straight A’s, but I do want him to try. I want him to be responsible. I want him to know God and be comfortable praying to him. I want him to help others when he sees someone who needs help. I want him to do things that make him happy. I want him to believe he can fish for a living someday. I want him to feel loved and secure. And I want him to always give his mom a hug.

I hope that the way I’ve lived my life, loved my family & the way I beat cancer are good examples for him. I’ve prayed a lot about this lately and I’ve just asked for guidance. Please help me to be a good enough mommy to get through the teen years. Peace be with you on your journey of “enough.”

(Ok, I frequently end my blogs with “peace be with you” & that may seem odd so let me explain. After I was “done” with cancer, I had a Reiki reading. The wonderful gal who did it said, “There is just something about you that is different. Not just the cancer but like your whole attitude shifted.” I mentioned that I feel peace like I’ve never felt before. “Yes!”, she said… “That’s it… Peace.” So, when I say peace be with you, I really do hope that you can find peace. Because even with all of my teen struggles and marathon fears, I still have peace. Peace that comes from knowing God has plans bigger than mine, and it’s in His hands)

Different is OK

So I started half marathon training for the Fargo marathon in May. I’ve done some 5ks since being diagnosed but this will be the farthest that I’ve gone. I signed up when I was full of optimism & believed that I could do anything. I also wanted to prove to my boys that they could do anything they put their minds to. 

I’m still optimistic, but that snowball of self doubt started rolling. Aches and pains and vertigo left me questioning my decision. But I’ve already committed & I don’t want to back down. While most people think running is all physical, those who have done it can tell you that it’s a LOT more mental than you’d think. And, my mental game is strong, as Cam would say. 

I’ve tried to change my body with the power of positive thinking… “My foot feels fine” (not the one that was broken, the other one), “my joints feel great”, “I am stable and grounded.” That wasn’t really working. Then Saturday came – the first outside training day. Since Cam is a trainer for the full marathon group, he will keep me accountable & make sure I show up. 

I forgot many things about running. I mean the motion is pretty simple, it’s the other stuff I forgot… I forgot how gross it can be – sweaty & snotty & stinky. I forgot about the mind games … “Just run to the next mailbox, then you can walk.” I also forgot about the sense of accomplishment.  I guess I wasn’t prepared for how different it would be though. My body is different, but different is ok. 

Tonight as I went outside & did my 2 miles, my toes still went numb & my joints ached. But I was thankful. It’s world cancer day & I’m considered a survivor. I’m thankful that I’m here & that I’m fine. Thankful that I can walk & jog and breathe in the crisp air. I may not ever feel like a runner, but perhaps this is another lesson in being “enough”… Enough for me, enough for my family & enough to make it 13.1 miles in May. Perhaps I will feel “Incredible!”