I have tried to write this post a number of times.. and I was recently asked to guest post for Adventure for Women. And I wrote this post. And every post I have attempted for this day, has not been the one I wanted. So I decided to copy what I wrote and post it here as well. Today is the the 1 year anniversary.
November 18, 2016 was a much-anticipated day. The house we were building was closing and I couldn’t wait. I had gone over every detail and was ready to live there and to make it our home. As the day of our move came I was busy with movers, and signing at the title company, etc. Everything was going smoothly. Friends came over to help me get my kitchen unpacked and organize my pantry; before long the beds were made, and I knew everyone had a cozy place to sleep. This night was what I had been waiting for, and my tired body could sleep happy knowing that we were in our new home.
Around 10:30 that night I coughed, a small thing, but when I coughed I had a mouth full of blood. I knew something was wrong, so I drove myself to the hospital with no time to spare. From there I was transferred via ambulance to the main hospital where I was treated in ICU for a critical mass hemorrhage in my lungs. I lost over 1200CC of blood in one hour, and the nurses and doctors didn’t expect me to make it.
Through a series of tests, they ruled out everything they thought it could be; viral, bacterial, lupus, asthma? None of it was what they wanted, and I was told to go home and wait and see if it happens again.
Long story short, nine and a half weeks later I was sent to OHSU (thanks to 2ndMD, which is amazing btw) and they found that I had a bronchial artery aneurysm. It had stopped bleeding, but was still there ready to rupture at any time. I had 8 platinum coils placed in my artery to fix the aneurysm, and was told that 90% of the people die from this.
I have had different medical trials in my life, and it started when I was 10 days old. I am not afraid of them. But this trial, this one it knocked the wind out of me. It scared me. It made me question things, but it also made me turn more to my Heavenly Father. To plead with him in prayer and ask Him what do I need to do, what can I learn. Not to ask why, but what is it that I can learn, what can I help others with, what is it that He has for me to do.
While all this was going on I decided I would run a half marathon on my birthday, May 20, and I would climb Mt. St. Helens (again), and try for a century ride. My doctors said okay and after 3 months of not working out, I went into full swing training again.
I ran my first half marathon ever, on my 37th birthday. I had 12 weeks of training to get it done, from my first run to my race. And it was so much work. My body was struggling to get blood to flow to the correct areas of my lungs. There were medical tests done, and some days were painful, but I kept going, I knew I needed to do this race for me. Not for anyone else, but for me.
Somehow, I knew this race mattered, and honestly some days I am not sure why, other than it mattered to me. I have an amazing friend who graciously trained with me, even though she would be out of town the day of the race. But she ran with me, paced with me, and encouraged me day, after day. She made it seem manageable, and she picked me up when I wasn’t sure I could do this.
The day of the race came, and my heart was anxious. This was a huge event for me, six months after my hospitalization I set out to do something I had never done before. My race didn’t go perfect, my ankle hurt, and my hip had a knot in it for the last 6.1 miles. I limped through, not running as fast as I had hoped. But I felt like a champion as I crossed that finish line. Tears of gratitude streamed down my face. That day, six month ago, had felt like a piece of me was stolen. That day that had rocked my world, that day wasn’t going to define me. As I stood just past the finish line I realized that I had just run 13.1 miles not even four months after my procedure, only twelve weeks from when I could run again.
It is funny because sometimes people think I am super competitive in a race. But I am going to tell you a secret. I am…but with myself, not with you. In the moment when I crossed the finish line, I was 52 minutes slower than the fastest woman running it. And you know what? Her good job, didn’t devalue my good job. She worked so hard to get there and so did I.
I have no intentions of racing and running that fast, but I do plan to push my body to do all, that it can do. To not let the medical traumas, take that from me or define me.
This year I have pushed my body, trying to gain back everything I lost, both physically and mentally. There were days I just wanted to climb back in bed, and say you know what, I have had enough. My body is tired, and I am still here, so I think that is enough.
I don’t have to do everything. But my spirit, my spirit has this fire in it. It has a push that says, no you can do this, and you need to do this. To show your daughter that no matter what happens you can do hard things. And to show yourself, why not now? Why not push hard, why not try new things, why not climb a mountain?
So, I have kept trying, and kept pushing. I know it is what I need for me. I was born with this imperfect body. But it is all I have even known. I have seen cardiologist since I was 10 days old, and I still see one to watch my bicuspid aortic valve. At 16 I was diagnosed with severe asthma. And since I was 18 I have gone to a rheumatologist for Lupus. And at 22 they took out the lower left lobe of my lung. It almost sounds like a made-up story… no one has a body like this. But it is the one I willingly signed up for in Heaven. The one I told the Lord I would happily take. The one that would help me to remember Him, and what really matters. Because at the end of the day remembering HIM is what it all comes down to. And my body is a constant reminder. And I feel this sacred feeling, that I am to care for it, nourish it, strengthen it, and love it, because of all it can do. Not because of its weaknesses but because of its power. My body is the perfect one for me. And so, when I don’t want to do more my Spirit calls out to me…you can and you will.
My friend told me today was a day of celebration. To which I said why? And she said because, my friend you lived, and look at all you have done! And so today, I am going to celebrate instead of fear this day. Because I am still here, still standing and I am going to live out loud. Live the life that I was meant to live. Without regrets. And without hesitations, and without boundaries. Just Live.