Mimi’s miles to Ironman

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2014 by runmyssierun

im703victoria

September of 2011, Sissy lay in her bed at MD Anderson’s leukemia floor unable to feed herself while my mother was a few floors down having nine tumors removed from her brain via gamma ray surgery. She looked me over and said, “You’re gaining a lot of weight with all this pressure on you taking care of us. Why don’t you take up running?”

“Why couldn’t you have suggested zumba?” I joked back to her.

“I’m serious,” she said. “I want you to run for me.”

My baby brother had died in April, 2011. Sissy died two weeks after the above conversation. Momma died on Easter Sunday April, 2012, exactly one year after my baby brother.

Two weeks after her death, I bought my first pair of running shoes from Valley Running Company. It took a month to build up to running my very first mile… ever… EVER… in my life. One month later, December 2011, I ran my first 5k at the Fiesta Marathon.January 2012, I ran my first 10k over the Causeway at South Padre Island. February 2012, I ran my first half marathon in Austin, the LiveSTRONG Marathon. June 2012, I ran my first full marathon at the Rock N Roll San Diego in California. I went on to run a half marathon every month after that including the San Antonio RnR Marathon and the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco and that December returned to my first race, the Fiesta Marathon and ran the full 26.2 miles as my Team in Training teammates and countless other supporters all ran me in to the finish line even though I injured myself severely during the race. I blogged candidlyabout my entire journey, the good the bad and the ugly on RunMyssieRun.com.

January of 2013, I began a new challenge for Team in Training. I learned how to swim and began riding a bike. I hadn’t done that since I was 12 years old. Ten weeks after I learned to swim, I completed my first triathlon, Stanley’s Triathlon. I then joined the San Antonio TNT Team and completely my first Sprint triathlon for LLS at the Capital of Texas Triathlon in Austin, Texas. Four months after that, I earned the very first Triple Crown for the South Texas Team in Training Team by joining the National Flex TNT Team and completing the 108 mile century ride in the mountains of Nevada at Viva Bike Vegas.

January 2014, I returned to my roots to invigorate energy into the Team by helping launch the first RGV TNT Triathlon Team. I went back to CapTexTri in May of 2014 to push myself up to the Olympic distance… but failed. I was pulled out during the swim and was unable to complete it.  So I found a similar race on the same course and attempted the Olympic Distance Triathlon again knowing that I would not stop until I finished this distance. And I did.

So now what? How do I top that? How do I continue my journey?

10608525_827422000621970_7975463148433140975_o

I, the outta shape middle aged princess who had never run a mile before in her life before this, will attept to do her best to complete a Half-Ironman in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, for Sissy, Momma and everyone who questions the possibility of someone who loves her family more than the fear of limitations.

In 2011, I witnessed the pain of multiple human loss.

In 2012, I witnessed the pain of agonizing physical endurance.

In 2013, I witnessed the miracle of healing…multiple times.

In 2014, I witnessed how everything above came together.

In 2015, I hope to witness you experiencing all these miracles with me. I hope to find a cure, eliminate the cause and ensure that those currently “dancing” wth cancer have access to affordable, high quality care.

Now, the above only talks about me and the crazy challenges I’ve done in this short time. What you REALLY need to hear about are the people I’ve met along the way, the victims, the heroes, the parents, the grandparents, the doctors and nurses and pharmacists, the coaches, the teammates, the businesses, the elected leaders, the sponsors, the donors, the people who care just because it’s the right thing to do… this is where the story gets good. And that is my journey… a bunch of good people doing good things all around us in a world filled with chaos, fear and uncertainty. Travel it with me.

It takes more than one person to make up a team and that’s why I’m asking you to donate to my TNT fundraising page for TNT!

By participating as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) TNT, I am raising funds to help find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients.

Your donation will help fund treatments that save lives every day; like immnuotherapies that use a person’s own immune system to kill cancer. You may not know it, but every single donation helps save a life with breakthrough therapies such as these.

Patients need these cures and they need your support.

Please make a donation in support of my efforts with Team In Training and help get us all closer to a world without blood cancers.

This is THE most amount of money I have ever needed to raise. I pray that although I am no professional athlete, a company will understand the seriousness of my commitment and promise to my mother and offer to sponsor me. I am honored that this journey (aka Mimi’s Miles on Facebook) has become an educational resource for the community of people I live in, a source of healing for me (via runmyssierun.com) and a source of empowerment for those seeking a healthier lifestyle.

Join me and my Team and countless people who have been touched by cancer.

RunMyssieRun.com

With all the love in my heart,

Thank you!

Myssie Cardenas-Barajas

70.3

Posted in Uncategorized on November 3, 2014 by runmyssierun

IMG_3201.PNG

Victoria, British Columbia, here I come! Details coming soon!!!

Getting felt up for breast cancer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 28, 2014 by runmyssierun

Getting felt up for breast cancer

This morning I had my mammogram. I have to admit that I am quite nervous about it. There is still this black cloud of doom that seems to follow me around and a part of me that still thinks that it’s just a matter of time before cancer will try to get me, too. Waiting around for the next 10 days for the results to be sent back to me will most definitely be agonizing.

I tried with all my might to act casual around the nurse who was tending to me but let’s face it… My face, my mannerisms, my everything shows all over me!!!! It is so easy for people to read me!!!

I have a tendency to make jokes of a situation when I’m nervous like I was so thank goodness I was getting texts from friends the whole time who understood my inner personality and played along.

I mean… Really… Do they honestly think when they tell you to “relax your shoulders and lean in” while they grab your boob and smack it onto a cold slab of machinery and squish it like play-doh and command you to hold your other boob out of the way that there aren’t any emotions going through our heads? Come on! That’s borderline foreplay!!! And if that’s the case, at least dim the lights to better set the mood. Just saying…

20140122-233141.jpg

20140122-233209.jpg

20140122-233228.jpg

20140122-233250.jpg

Remember why you started

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2014 by runmyssierun

June 14, 2012
CROSSING THE LINE

Just six short months ago, I made the decision to do all I could to help those who have been hurt by cancer like how my family and friends and I have been hurt. Running a marathon would not bring the world a cure. It would not bring back my best friend Rodney Perez, my Aunt Sissy (Luz Gomez) nor would it bring back my beautiful Momma (Mimi Cardenas). Crossing the finish line after six months of insanely dedicated workouts was far from the end. On the contrary, I believe it is just my beginning.

Like I said before in my earlier blogs, I had no clue what possessed me – the overweight, non-athletic, outta-shape, 40+ anti-gym rat – to enter a race, much less a MARATHON!!! But I followed my signs and trusted the advice of Sissy. She was right.

“Life is not a race — but indeed a journey”

Did you know I have weather angels?
I expected myself to be the last one in since I was the only full-marathon participant who had never run before… EVER in her life. So when it came down to our team practice runs, I dreaded having the others wait hours for me to come in. I would pray the night before for a “healthy” run and over cast morning with a breeze so that the others wouldn’t have to suffer while waiting for me. Each long run of the season that I ran with the team had over cast mornings with a cool breeze up until the very moment I finished. And yes, I did finish without any health problems. I must have weather angels and the blessings from above.

Did you know that I live amongst angels?
From the moment I decided to make this crazy journey, I was led in the right direction to the angels who live amongst us. Had it not been for German, Lucia and all the inspirational staff who took me under their wings at Valley Running Company, I would not have lasted two weeks in this “sport”. Had it not been for my run class, Coach Jetter, and all my wonderful run clubs like iRun, Run Walk Crawl, Me Myself and Run, Sole Sisters and my TnT Team mates and extremely patient TnT coaches and my fabulous mentor, I would have given up at shin splints and ice baths. My boss – wow. She lost her father to cancer a year before I lost my mother. She knows my drive and determination very well. Probably because hers is pretty identical to mine. Her support was beyond extraordinary. I knew she could read right through me when I was hurting and she knew that I knew. And she let me continue. I had to. Anna, my co-worker, had been battling leukemia from the first day I was employed there. Her strength and courage drove us all to pitch in what ever we could. THIS was all I could do.

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, here are the highlights that I posted right after the race:

1. As I got the high five from Jean Gearhart at station #4 the band nearby played “Hero” from the Foo Fighters (the band that my brother Donny loved), she said “Looking good Mama” – just like my Momma used to say. I couldn’t stop the tears.
2. A soldier in full gear with a full ruck sack and boots passed me at mile 10. I looked to the side and the crowd saluted him.
3. As my body began to break down at mile 17, a man not much older than me said “excuse me” and passed me on the left with his daughter. How do I know this? The back of his shirt said he was running for his daughter. The girl beside him said “survivor”. She had to have been my son’s age.
4. I hit my “wall” as I entered the island. My legs were heavy and stiff and I felt like I was giving birth again. The pain was intense. A woman yelled out to me “You are running to fund the research that has allowed me to live. THANK YOU so much! I am here because of YOU!”
5. The Perez family all came to meet me at the finish line. Rodney’s mom came up from behind me and hugged me and cried for about 15 minutes. We spent the evening having a wonderful dinner and catching up on life as we know it now. None of us could gather the strength to talk about Rodney. We still miss and love him so!
6. 3,000 runners sit for the inspiration dinner the night before the race. Six big screens hang from the ceiling with a picture and a caption “We are running in Memory of Luz Gomez” – that’s my Sissy.

My mother passed away the week that I had planned to run the Austin 10/20 race in memory of Sissy. As many of you know, I did not run that race so that I could spend those last few days with my mother. But I am a woman of my word and Sissy is really that special to me so I must continue. The Nike Women’s marathon will be run for her.

And how very fitting. Sissy really knew what she was doing for me. I knew she had it all planned out. I am so very grateful to her and hope that each of you continue to join me on my journey. Come run with me.

Each step I take brings us closer to a cure. This eases my pain and sadness in knowing that those last few years that my mother gave her body to have science experiement on her so that others could be cured was not in vain. #Relentless for a cure

Every runner has a reason. What’s yours?

Sole Survivor

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2014 by runmyssierun

runmyssierun:

As a way of remembering why I do what I do, I’m going to reblog some of my most special moments that have carried me along my journey. The messages that I have written in and have learned from are lessons that go far beyond just running marathons or triathlon or century bike rides… they are lessons for living life in a happy and healthy way.

Originally posted on RunMyssieRun:

I spent Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning with over 200 young ladies at a nearby local high school. The organizer had called me up after receiving some recommendations from the other speakers she had lined up that week as well. The week long seminar was designed to empower these young female students with leadership and life skills by providing a personal testimony of our own examples and an inspiring speech. Honestly, I was floored.

Me? Wow!

The topics divided up into the various days were: education and awareness, physical and mental fitness, health and beauty

I had a blast. Of course, I got choked up when I spoke to the girls about a few parts but made sure to emphasize the silver lining of it all… after all, it was supposed to be an inspiring talk – not a sob story and not a braggart story – but a story that…

View original 1,337 more words

Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetle….

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2014 by runmyssierun
Me, German and the Ericas sipping on chai tea and giggling about our crazy beliefs and what we would do if we were hypnotized.

Me, German and the Ericas sipping on chai tea and giggling about our crazy beliefs and what we would do if we were hypnotized as Harry Belafonte sang Jump in the Line (from Beetlejuice) over the speakers.

Last night I was with a few of my favorite people at Moonbeans, a favorite local coffee shop, sipping a chai tea and talking about sleep hypnosis and various other topics you wouldn’t ever imagine when a woman approached us at our table outside under the moonlight and cool breeze. She placed her hand upon my shoulder and looked down on me with a sweet smile and blurted out with grace a story about her grandchild, Jessica Garcia, who since the age of three had been fighting cancer. Now eight years old, she said as her eyes welled up with tears, that the doctors at MD Anderson had given them the news that she had only about six months to live but was still scheduled for another very powerful chemotherapy as they were adamant about fighting with the strength of God. Her voice cracked as she went on to say how channel 5 had done a story about her not too long ago and from the tone of her voice… it didn’t seem like she thought the story would end well. I’m not sure if she saw the look in our eyes as we clearly all felt her pain and she caught herself, smiled, touched her heart and then pointed up to the sky and said “The doctors don’t have hope but I do.”

The woman, I would estimate about her mid-fifties to mid-sixties, about five foot three inches, 180 pounds with short curly salt and pepper hair and in need of dental work but with a phenomenal smile, had no clue that she had approached a table with a woman who had lost her family to cancer two years prior, another woman who was an ovarian cancer survivor and two others who had just pledged to complete a challenge for the purpose of bringing awareness to the masses about cancer.

She was carrying around a handful of little stuffed holiday ornaments to sell for $6.00. They dangled from her delicate fingers as she explained almost shamefully how MD Anderson had given them to her so that she could raise money for her granddaughter.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have my purse with me and only had my ATM card and felt awful about not being able to help her.  I asked for her granddaughter’s name again and one of my friends asked her for her name and a phone number explaining that she worked for one of the local news stations and would like to do a follow up story and possibly help even more at that time with awareness and a bigger cry out to the public for donations.

I told her that as soon as I got to my home computer, I would look up the story and donate online via the KRGV news story. She responded with overwhelming zeal and gratitude. However, when my friend asked if she could call her tomorrow for that follow up on the story… she became quite nervous, stuttered and started looking around. Suddenly, it hit us but no one wanted to say it.

Knowing that we were a pretty broke group of friends that weren’t going to buy $6.00 ornaments for charity with the hopes of someone giving her a $10.00 bill and then saying she was sorry she didn’t have any change and additionally hoping that we would say “Don’t worry, keep the change.” – because, really, who carries around six dollars exactly, right?

So when the text came in this morning….

Moonbeans cancer scam

It hurts me to a degree that is beyond what the English language can define to know that people would use cancer as a way to scam others… cancer survivors… people who have lost family and loved ones to cancer… as a way to get six lousy bucks.

Why this woman did what she did will always be unknown to me. She clearly was desperate and had no clue who she was talking to and how cancer had hurt us.

Obviously my angels were protecting me and my hard earned money as I probably would have given her all I had if I had my purse with me. Funny how God works to protect us and teach each of us lessons.

Please pray for her. She needs help…. and it’s thankfully not help to fight cancer.

8 year old Jessica Garcia that only has six months to live because of cancer… simply doesn’t exist. Nor do we believe her grandmother, Diana Garcia, exists. At least not in the way as it was presented to us last night.

I met a woman named Mom – This is her story

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2014 by runmyssierun

Last week, I met a woman and her son at a luncheon… her name is MOM. This is her story:

10346615_10204954947503263_7385252362300245322_n

Evan's Mom told us her story and what Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic did for Evan and her family. As she spoke, her voiced cracked a few times and tears rolled down her face... Evan stood by her patting her back trying to comfort her. These are the stories, these are the families that YOU help. Please read her speech and see the other children of Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic at the end of this post.

Evan’s Mom told us her story and what Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic did for Evan and her family. As she spoke, her voiced cracked a few times and tears rolled down her face… Evan stood by her patting her back trying to comfort her. These are the stories, these are the families that YOU help. Please read her speech and see the other children of Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic at the end of this post.

Mom that’s my name I don’t have any other name but mom. I remember the first time hearing doctors and nurses calling me mom, it seemed odd to me, having grown adults calling me mom…But that’s who I am …Mom.

            In November of 2010, around Thanksgiving time, my son Evan got the flu.  We gave him Tamiflu and after five days when he was still sick, I took him back to his pediatrician.  The pediatrician told me we had to go right away to the hospital. Evan needed to be admitted into ICU …this sense of urgency or fear a sort of internal siren went off!  I remember I wanted to run… I wanted to grab Evan and leave …drive far away and never look back. I was scared …The “mom” inside me knew there was something wrong.

The next morning I met a doctor who said, mom I’m Dr. Bernini, as he introduced himself …. By that evening the same doctor would say the words that would shatter my world as I knew it: MOM YOUR SON HAS LEUKEMIA.

Cancer? leukemia?   The word paralyzed me, I heard it but was it a dream ..more like a nightmare? I recall I couldn’t feel my legs …I was weak… and before I knew it I was sitting. You can’t even see what’s going on around you because your eyes are blurred from the tears that won’t stop coming … Family members, they mean well, are researching … And emailing you information on St. Jude and other treatment options. You are trying to be a mom and just comfort your son but you have to get him well too … Fast.  Between the blurred vision, the advice coming from every direction, and the feeling of being paralyzed …the only thing I do remember .. Is feeling Dr. Bernini grab my hand and hearing him say, Mom I promise to do all that I can to save your sons life.

I have 3 children 2 daughters who are now 10 & 8 and my son Evan 5 yrs old. Cancer is a beast and doesn’t just pick on one he picks on the entire family. His sisters quickly saw the change of Evan’s once terrible two’s personality become more like that of an 80 year old mans. Our daughter’s needed my husband and I …and we all needed each other more than ever.

Evan battled leukemia  for over 3 years … He was bald, had surgeries, port infections, fevers, hospital ICU sick stays, side effects from chemo, went bald …Grew hair … threw up …a lot …slept …a lot, slept none – on steroids … Got swollen, gained weight, then got much too thin  …. None of the things I imagined for my only son … Nothing a mom would ever imagine for their child. Cancer is a nightmare for the entire family …and I would be lying if I said I never had nightmares of Dr. Bernini calling me to tell me Evan’s counts are off. It lurks… and haunts our family. So as a mom one can only imagine how helpless Cancer can make you feel.

            To be in McAllen not so far from where we live in Harlingen, has been such a blessing for that reason. If I didn’t have Vannie Cook Clinic, I don’t know how I would have dealt with still being a mom of 3 and a wife.  Life keeps coming at you … During the almost 4 years of treatment Evan had, there are birthdays, deaths in the family, siblings with colds, car batteries that die and of course bills to be paid. LIFE.  Imagine being behind on your mortgage then finding out your AC is shot, its 92 degrees in your house, and the fridge decides to go out too …your house smells of spoiled food …. But the worst part your son has a 102 fever and pneumonia and needs to go to the hospital. It’s not a doctor’s visit it’s a hospital stay when you have Cancer … And can be life or death. If you didn’t feel completely helpless during this entire time well now you feel as if life is picking on you And U want to just scream out …what more do you want ?!  .  That day I wanted to throw my hands in the air and just give up -I felt guilt knowing my son Evan never gives up….I called and talked to a nurse at Vannie cook, and then confided in the social worker, Yadhira … Some days she’s the only person that can get anything out of me because I’m just so drained ….  Yadhira, the social worker was able to find resources that helped us pay for a new motor that fixed our AC and located financial assistance that helped us make a payment to our mortgage company within days.  Evan stayed in the hospital for 4 days and thanks to the clinic’s social worker, I was able to keep focus on just him. It was our saving grace … And believe me when I say there’s no way to get through this long journey without that grace.

I remember the first time I walked into The Vannie Cook Clinic and I looked around. There were bald children and nurses and it seemed like a friendly atmosphere but I remember thinking … We don’t belong here.  My son doesn’t belong here.  Today I stand here and tell you that I am Mom …but in a matter of days that changed …somewhat. …I am a mom with a son who has/had cancer. As you look around this room… really look at the moms, the dads… who have a son or daughter who has cancer … We were once like everyone else.

My name is Mom and my family is part of The Vannie Cook Clinic…my son belongs at The Vannie Cook Clinic, it’s the place where we feel safe ….  God bless Dr. Bernini, Dr. Erana, Dr. Ramirez, Ruthann and all the nurses and staff… God bless you all for being here … And God bless The Vannie Cook Clinic.

If you would like to help and donate to the Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic, please follow the link here: DONATE 

To learn more about the Vannie Cook Cancer Clinic, please follow this link: www.vanniecookchildrensclinic.org

Mom and Me I admire her bravery and hope that more can be done so that no mother ever has to face this ever again.

Mom and Me
I admire her bravery and hope that more can be done so that no mother ever has to face this ever again.

Celebration of Heroes Fashion Show

The children of VCCC modeled fashions from Zoodles in McAllen. At the end of the show, Zoodles announced that each of the children could keep the clothes they were styled in. I wish you could have seen their faces!!! They were so excited.

These are the children:

1503890_10204954295166955_5013375495378794388_n 10672357_10204954300807096_6114198039611416582_n 10320270_10204954295086953_538419044950114630_n 10665872_10204954296446987_5296428562175939530_n 10400035_10204954296526989_1740808418062026422_n 10397821_10204954297287008_8944237760867662312_n 10671417_10204954297247007_2964435954379392156_n 10647135_10204954297847022_8428221522590650383_n 10629623_10204954298007026_7640586483662671903_n 1545889_10204954298447037_4832848044160244630_n 10427671_10204954298727044_2075766149730493249_n 10568928_10204954299247057_2074023983854319664_n 10665113_10204954924582690_8310259452267158964_n

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,301 other followers

%d bloggers like this: