Archive for the cancer Category

On this day…

Posted in cancer, Mom, training for my first half ironman, Uncategorized on April 8, 2017 by runmyssierun

It was five years ago today, right this very moment, that I crawled into bed with my Momma, held her hand, smoothed her hair back and whispered into her ear that it was ok to let go of us and stop the pain she was in. I remember hearing what the hospice nurses called the “death rattle”. I was the only one in the room with her in the end.
A few nights before, she had become quite antsy and restless. It was difficult for her to walk but she was adamant about going from her bed to the living room to watch TV on the couch. I lifted her up and walked her over, carefully holding her under her shoulders just incase she fell along the way. It was about 3:00 a.m. This would be the last time that she would have a conversation with me.
“I’m so sorry you have to see me go through this,” she said.
After I gathered my will and a bit of silence passed, I responded “I’m so glad it’s me you allowed to see you go through this.” I laid my head down on her frail bony shoulder as we sat on the couch together and she held me in her arms for the last time that night.
April 8, 2012, Easter Sunday, five years ago today… If you believe in the biblical story of Jesus Christ and know about the time when he began his journey of suffering, of crucifixion and death…it matches exactly the same time frame that Momma followed that day. I truly believe in the deepest part of my heart that she chose that day and that time to join her Lord and Mother Mary for that reason. I wish with all my might I could have faith and strength like hers.
I held her hand as she took her last breath.
No other honor in my life time can ever surpass that honor. I now live my life trying to smile like her no matter how hard it gets. I now live my life reflecting all that she taught me no matter what anyone else tells me. I now live my life like hers so that my children can feel the love that I felt for her.
I love you Momma.
The miles I run for you will always be Mimi’s Miles. Cancer picked the wrong woman.

Body, Mind & Soul…the REAL Triathlon workout

Posted in ACTS, cancer, half ironman, health & fitness, ironman, Mom, rgv, rio grande valley, Running, team in training, texas, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2017 by runmyssierun

I started this blog to share candid experiences of my personal journey with cancer and how I used marathons and triathlons as my soap box for awareness and a toolbox for fundraising. What I didn’t expect coming was the impact both would have inside of me… my soul.

So let’s talk first about FAILURE. Sure I entered my first marathon thinking that if I could show God how much I was sacrificing and how hard I was pushing myself to run TWENTY SIX POINT TWO miles that He would spare my Momma’s life and cure her cancer and all would be back to normal. Well, that didn’t work out the way I planned, huh?

Three full marathons, seven half marathons, thirteen triathlons, lost count of all the 5ks and 10ks and still… three DNFs

FAILURE

I was made fun of. I could have stayed quiet about it all and avoided the whole thing and the humiliation that came with it but I gave myself rules from the beginning and I did my best to stick to them:

No complaining. I had no right since I knew Momma had gone through so much – cancer treatment, surgeries, expenses, the loss of her sister and the loss of her only son. I had no right to complain.

Momma and her crown before her surgery

Be vulnerable and honest. If I was going to put it out there, I was going to go all out so that others could connect, understand, share, help and get the conversation and ultimately the movement of human compassion started.

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Never ever give up. This was the most difficult. Since I was never an athlete, it was hard for me to gauge the difference between soreness and injury. Not allowing myself to heal correctly and pushing myself because of my determination was the perfect combination for muscle injury.  When all the progress I made was thrown out the window because of my stubborn stupidity, it was humiliating and humbling to find myself right back at square one… overweight and out of shape.

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Oh but not all was failure. I did something pretty amazing. I did something that so many people never thought I could do… including myself. I accomplished physical feats that few attempt because of fear of failure. I accomplished getting a community to give of themselves for others so that a dollar here and a thousand dollars there could help someone in need… and we never even had to know who that person was. It was only important that they got a chance to live longer, happier, and healthier even if just for a moment. I accomplished a conversation that continues today… and important one. One that changed the way we treat, cure and charge for those services. I was a part of it. I did not sit on the sidelines of life. I was a part of this movement. It was just a little bit but it was MY bit and although it may not have been much, it gave me purpose, helped others and showed my children the example that my mother showed me.

 

The entire journey, I referenced God and angels and miracles and “signs” on a daily basis but something was missing. A connection was still missing… no no no… correction…

The connection was always there… I was just too blind to see it.

I knew what I needed to do. I always knew. I think all of you did, too. So this weekend it happened.

I attended the same retreat that my mother attended that set her soul on fire and strengthened her faith like no other I’ve ever met. That hand sign I throw at races was the hand sign she threw at me when she returned from her retreat. It means “I love you” in American sign language. It was an ACTS retreat and although I didn’t not attend it at the Shrine the way she did, I was able to attend it at my home church with the Priest that raised me and 71 other women whom were all strangely and purposefully meant to be with me this weekend.

Crossing the finish line of my first full marathon, witnessing my son graduate and choose to serve his country, giving birth, marrying the love of my life, winning my first crown, experiencing my first kiss… these life moments now have a new addition to my collection of favorite life memories. ACTS is officially a part of this collection.

The journey that this blog is based on began in 2011. But this week marks my true beginning. I now have all three “sports” in my line up and fully intend to workout each – MIND BODY & SOUL – to become the ultimate triathlete, the one He always intended for me to become.

And now, most importantly of all… I have mentioned “I” a whole bunch in this post. None of it was done alone by just “I”.  From the very, very beginning there was my FAMILY, there was our team of DOCTORS AND MEDICAL STAFF, there was TEAM IN TRAINING and THE LEUKEMIA AND LYMPHOMA SOCIETY and THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY, there was the incredibly long list of SPONSORS, DONORS and VOLUNTEERS, there were numerous RUN GROUPS, COACHES, and TEAMMATES, CO-WORKERS, and seriously freaking awesome FRIENDS who joined me, there were my SONS and my HUSBAND and my FATHER who joined me in training or 5ks or followed me at my 2nd full marathon or helped throw orange paint at the Color Dash, and then there were 71 SISTERS IN CHRIST and HIM who never left my side… ever.

I’ve said it from the beginning… this was never just about me. This has always been about something much bigger… way bigger than just me.

As each phase in this journey has evolved, peaked and molded my life, I have seen the world of cancer change, my personal health change and that of my community, too, and ultimately the love of my family, friends and yes, my spirituality change immensely.

And for all of this… I thank you. So here I go again…a little quieter, a bit more purposeful and a whole lot stronger.  I invite you to join me if you are also ready to get over that fear, too.

 

 

Defining Moments of Life

Posted in cancer, training for my first half ironman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2016 by runmyssierun

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I have been taking a pretty profound 8-week class for work. I’m about half way through it. Today, my instructor told us that as a young boy, his dad would tell him that if he just made all “B’s” in school that he’d be so very proud of him. So what was he conditioned to do? He made all B’s. And all was well.

As a young girl, I remember being in the car with some family members. We were driving South on Sugar road in my home town and as we passed the home of the President of the University – a massively landscaped mansion to me back in the day – I remember blurting out to them that one day I would live there. I was quickly hushed, corrected and told,”You’re too pretty to be smart.  The smartest man in town lives there. Your brother may have a chance though.” He was smart. Boys were supposed to be smart. Girls were supposed to be pretty and delicate and dumbed down so that others around can feel superior, stronger and smarter. That’s how the world was supposed to be as it was shown to me.

I was conditioned to be pretty. So what did I do? I was never exceptional in school and I entered pageants because I was supposed to be pretty… where I was eventually told I wasn’t pretty enough to continue. So I was never smart enough and never pretty enough… and grew up always thinking I was just never ENOUGH.

For whatever reason, at any given point of my life, I was always surrounded by people who seemed to be nice and friendly and care for me… but never really encouraged or pushed me to see what I was really made of and what I could really do with all that I was. All it took was a handful of people to make the needed difference in me. Now, don’t get me wrong – I still struggle daily with the whole “enough” battle in my head – but I win a few of the fights in the end.

I do not believe that my story is rare. I think a lot of us, too many of us, were told by influential others what our defining limits were presumed to be. Maybe, just maybe, you were one, too.

But what I also believe is that just as I had a defining moment in my life that forced me to push myself beyond what I thought I could accomplish, you and many others have had or will have defining moments that will do the same. And guess what… I also believe that every day of life gives us all a moment to redefine us all again, too.

Experiences like this have taught me great lessons. Some in my own self and some of those lessons have been for me to learn to recognize the type of person who still tries to define me with their own self doubt, limitations, envy or other insecurity. I see you. It’s ok. I smile and nod my head to all you tell me… but I don’t believe a thing you say to me anymore.  The beauty of rock bottom is the wisdom that comes from it when you rise.  Yes, I do better when I have an encouraging cheering section but I have learned the hard way, too, to believe in myself and become everything you were not prepared to experience… my absolute best.

Who will you allow yourself to become? Are you ready for your defining moment?

Cancer is still trying to bully us!

Posted in cancer, training for my first half ironman with tags , , , on October 23, 2016 by runmyssierun

A couple of months ago I was asked if I was done.

I’m not quite sure how to answer that. On one hand, yes, I am certain I am done doing all these crazy events trying to prove to the world and the new people who fall into my path that I can do anything I set out to accomplish. But see, my journey in YOUR view should not be about me. On the other hand, no, I am certain that my battle will go on and on until the end of my days because cancer seems to keep trying to bully its way through wonderful people’s lives. My promise is and will always be ongoing. I will continue to seek out ways to make the treatment, cure and prevention of cancer affordable and accessible to all those who want it. I will do my best to help find ways to provide solutions for those gaps within the system that insurance or government or other social organizations cannot help with yet (i.e. child care, transportation, home maintenance, etc.). I will continue to strive to ensure that caregivers also get support treatment for all they endure as well so that they remain strong for those whom they love. And I hope that others continue to join with me… because no one person can take on something like this by themselves but each one of us can do our share.

I hope that sometime DURING my lifetime cancer will be cured, prevented and completely eliminated from existence. I hope. I really do hope.

This month cancer seems to have hit too many of my friends and family hard… again.

We must rise up again, together, united in prayer, intention, effort and love for those whom we love. We probably all know someone currently fighting, battled and won or battled and lost… or maybe it’s you. Get up. Do something.

My friend Cary Zayas hosted a prayer circle on Saturday afternoon for Briana and Felix. I had never met either of the two teens (shown below). They were both sitting on the living room couch when I came in, knelt down and introduced myself. There was the most amazing warmth that came from both of those kids. You could feel nothing but grace in that moment.

Just now, I received a text response from the wife of Joey (both also pictured below). I used to run with her quite often years ago when I first ventured into this journey. The way she validated my feeling by saying “No one will ever know until they’re on this side” is true… and scary. I never wish this type of experience on anyone and now it seems as though its no longer “if”.. it has become a matter of “when” we will all have to deal with cancer. It is an agony unlike any other. It is also a reminder of today’s message in church…

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” – Saint Augustine

http://www.facebook.com/events/1891132767786258/

Stranger stories

Posted in cancer, training for my first half ironman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2016 by runmyssierun

Last night a young man and his wife asked if I was “Missy B”. They shook my hand, hugged me and asked for a picture with me. “I’ve been following your Instagram and blog for years” he said.

Both he and his wife had lost loved ones to cancer. They spoke to me about their stories and how they had followed my story for hope and inspiration. They renewed my passion and sense of purpose.

Not too long ago, my family and I went bowling and a woman whom I’ve never met did the exact same thing.

I have to admit, it gets a little scary when a complete stranger comes up to you out of the blue and asks if you are you. I’m certainly not a celebrity because occurrences like this don’t happen EVERY single day.. but often enough to know that I must be on guard, observant, cautious yet caring, compassionate and true to my promise.

So many of us struggle with hardships. It’s difficult to speak about them. One of the things I have learned from this is that once you get over that first step of difficulty – you know, admitting it – letting others know that this is a tough thing you’re going through. It releases you from it. Saying it allows you to let it out, let it go. And it gives permission to others in pain to do so, too. This little blog of mine has given me that power and permission to let others let go of their pain, struggles and suffering.

Whether it is about cancer, achieving a goal that was once thought of as impossible, proving yourself to others or yourself, becoming healthy, fit, happy or just simply becoming a better, kinder person… if you have found a connection here through my silly journey, then that brings me great joy. We all go through ups and downs and although I truly believe in my heart of hearts that any one person can get through it by themselves, trust me when I say, it’s so much better when you have support of others who sincerely understand and help you and others through it. Together we are a stronger, kinder and more effective force.

There are many, many more stories out here. We all need to hear them, feel them and do something about them. TOGETHER. Tell your story. We can all help each other and sometimes when we least expect it.

 

The TRIFLARE Tribe announcement!!! 

Posted in cancer, half ironman, ironman, rio grande valley, team in training, training for my first half ironman, triathlon, triathlon training, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2016 by runmyssierun

Seriously, one of the coolest things ever to be a part of the TriFlare Tribe!!! Pro triathlete Alicia Kaye shares my story! I’m on the seventh wave!!! triflare-alicia-kaye_1024x1024-thumb-580x447-5168

10lbs, drugs, politicians, money, boots and music – it’s probably not what you think.

Posted in cancer with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2015 by runmyssierun

What a day! What a week! What a month it has been! Too much awesomeness for me to write about in full detail and you know how I abhor vague, cryptic messages!!!

So here’s the summary:

Lost 10 pounds. 10 more to go to fit and perform best in my wetsuit and run light for Ironman.

Sissy’s anniversary was miracle driven. <—ok, so that’s cryptic. Sorry. Not Sorry.

Because of a new job, traveling back and forth (insert a myriad of flamboyant excuses here including the Pope’s visit to America) I have only been able to train with the TEAM on weekends. I have good days and bad days, decreased my caffeine intake and heart rate levels, increased my distance and endurance times. pace is still pathetic and no longer publicly posting my workout paces because I feel extremely awkward when being compared amongst people I thought were my friends. I am not your competition. You are not my competition. I am MY own competition.

The halls of congress are busy with activists begging legislators to co-sponsor the CANCER DRUG COVERAGE PARITY ACT to ensure that cancer patients can afford to receive treatment. I’ll post a letter at the end so that you can copy, paste, sign and send to your representative in Congress.

The above is a result of this happening in the cancer treatment industry (I was one of the lobbyists that was part of the movement last year talked about in this article):

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/09/24/why-big-pharma-hates-martin-shkreli-too/

I had a meeting this week that started out business and ended up being almost three hours long with some of the most phenomenal women in the Valley who have beat cancer and a couple of others who have dedicated much of their lives and talent to help others beat cancer. I should have taken a selfie of the group. There I was, sipping lemonade with Sylvia Fortuin, Fran Prukop, Melissa Smith, Stacy Madden and silly ol’ me. With all that these women at this table have endured and conquered, something as trivial as the enigma of world peace could be strategized, executed and pinned perfectly on pinterest by next Tuesday without a single hair out of place if given the challenge. We talked a bit about cancer but spoke mostly of God with smiles on all our faces. Interesting, huh?

And the grand highlight was being honored at the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball for the promise I made to Momma and Sissy. Every single emotion a human being can have was experienced there in that ball room but I exited with only one… GRATITUDE.

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But the really cool thing was that the opening band, COSTELLO, came back after the preview party a few months ago and DONATED themselves as a musical entertainment act for the cause after hearing my story.  Which goes to show that all of us can do something, anything for the cause because we all have value. I may not be super rich and be able to buy a cure and I may not be super smart and be able to invent a cure but I can run, albeit very slowly, and I can swim – or at least float or dog paddle any crazy long distance, and I can ride til the sun sets… and in some cases, til the sun rises. This is what I can do to make a difference. It may not be much but if you put together the little that I can do with the little that you can do and the little that everyone else can do.. together, we can change it all. For good.

So with that… I have to share with you COSTELLO‘s newest single and video that was just premiered a couple of days ago! it’s also available to download for free on their website! Thank them for their kind gesture by giving them a listen, d/l’ing their song, and requesting them on your local country music radio station like KTEX-100 and liking and following them on social media!!! @Costellotxmusic

Momma would have been over the moon! Thank you all for helping me keep my promise to her.

TO BE AN ADVOCATE FOR CANCER PATIENTS CLICK HERE TO EMAIL YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE

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