Archive for cancer survivor

What’s your limit?

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

For two years I’ve busted my butt pushing my body’s limit and taking it places I’ve never thought possible. I’ve caught myself saying several times that there are no more limits anymore. Nothing is impossible.

Getting healthy —- no limits! I can do this!

Losing weight — no limits! I can do this!

Curing cancer — no limits! I can do this!!

Running 7 marathons — no limits! I can do this!!

Cycling 108 miles up a 5,000 foot mountain — no limits! I can do this!

5 triathlons…wait, but I don’t know how to swim… Who cares! Learn! No limits!!! I can do this!!!!

Ride my bike a couple of miles with Eddie through the streets of my hometown…. Uh yeah… See… I can’t do that. I’m limited. I’m not limited by legal limits because I’m legally allowed to ride my bike in the street but the ignorance, lack of respect and inexperience of automobile drivers limits my ability and now my life longevity.

Seems I got a big wake up call this week.

See, for a while I lived my life without limits. And IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!

But sitting in a courtroom this week gave me all new insights on limits… Legal limits.

All this time I’ve busted through perceived limits and countless finish lines but I see now that there are lines that no human being SHOULD cross. When a child of God, a fellow human being, crosses that line with complete disregard to all moral, ethical and legal limits, it makes me wonder if there is still another path to run (or ride) in front of me.

As I enter for the first time the Capitol of our great nation attempting to convince our elected leaders of necessary change that must take place in order for cancer treatments and possible cure for cancer to be both affordable and accessible, I am reminded of legal limits once again.

I find myself racing along a path with lines that can be pushed one way and limits that restrain in another way and lives at stake all around us.

I sat with women from all over Texas today sharing our stories of cancer. How we’ve all lost children and how we’ve lost jobs and how time had been stolen from our lives because of cancer. Each story was profound and each struggle prolific and each woman still had a smile on her face after sharing it with me… Just like Momma used to do.

And then I met Ethan.. A reality TV star. You would think his celebrity status would diminish the harshness of his struggle, or his professional soccer talent would hinder the brutality of his disease or even think… Nah, he’s too handsome to go through such pain and suffering. But cancer is not prejudice. It picks whoever it wants and it usually picks the good people. It picked his dad. He lost him to cancer when he was just a boy. And cancer picked on him, too… Twice.

Ethan was well known for his long hair but insisted on being in control of his cancer and shaved himself bald. He was still very striking. And then he shared a video diary of himself while on treatment.

He cried while watching himself as if the suffering all came back to him that very instant. He never said it but insinuated that there were moments that he didn’t think he could make it… And moment that he didn’t want to. And then he looked up with years in his eyes as he admitted the reality … “And it can come back again.”

The second time cancer hit him, he said “It hit me in the gut.” He said he had to do something …. SOMETHING. It was his “do something moment”. I know that feeling all too well.

My whole family had been effected by cancer. It will never ever be the same again. I am hit in the gut in a way that you may not understand but I promised y’all is be candid. And just as Ethan was incredible candid with me tonight, I’ll share this tonight with y’all….

I feel guilty. I feel guilty for not being chosen. I feel guilty for being healthy, for taking my health for granted all these years, and for NOT going anything until it was too late to enjoy it with those who are now gone.

There will be lines that can never be crossed. There will be finish lines that I hope will never end for me. Countless I hope! There will be limits that I hope to break and limits that I hope will never ever be touched.

Do you know what your limits are?

Oh Sissy… What a journey you’ve chosen for me!

*ps — I dreamt Donny last night. He was his six year old self sitting with me in front of the tv in the living room in the house on Samano watching Saturday morning cartoons together… As we always did. Can you guess what was on the tv? Can you guess what we were singing? #schoolhouserock #imjustabill

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My good days

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2014 by runmyssierun

“I don’t want them to pity me.” Sissy

She didn’t want people to pity her because of all she had been going through. She wanted to give them HOPE. And she’s probably going to be really upset that I’m including this in my blog for every Joe Blow in the whole wide world to read… but what very few people knew was that even after agreeing to go through experimental chemo cocktails with no success, shortly before she passed away, Sissy donated her body to science with hope that she would somehow still be able to help the world find a cure for cancer.

Somewhere out here in our world, right this very minute, there is a scientist out here closer to a cure because his or her medical journal has the results of a test that told the world that her body responded either negatively or positively to and gave that staff more insight because of her selfless choice. To me, that’s a real hero. Somewhere out here in this world, there’s a little bit of Sissy that still looks out for us.

Somewhere out here in our world, there are two precious boys (Nico and Sammy)who are likely going through those awkward growing up phases that boys go through – the time that I remember Donny the most (his awkward stage).  Donny loved those two boys so much, more than anything in the world! Life just dealt Donny too much at one time and he had a bad habit of locking up all his worries inside his head and he never coped with those pressures in a healthy way. With Momma and Sissy at MD Anderson with cancer, losing his pharmaceutical sales job, going through a divorce and dealing with debt growing at an exponential rate because of excessive shopping habits and worst of all… the emotional stress that all this did to him, I’m very happy that he prepared to take care of his boys after his death. To me, with all that he had to endure and still come out with his legacies taken care of, that’s a real hero.

And here… right here, I am challenged to push my body and mind to exceed limits I never knew existed. I am constantly questioning myself with “Is this how Momma would have done this?” It is now my responsibility to make sure I live out the rest of my life the way Momma taught me to. I hear her voice echo in my head over and over “el flojo trabaja doble”, “the early bird gets the worm” and “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”. You see, when I was young, I was quiet and shy and very insecure with just a handful of close friends. I was a quirky introvert… just like my dad. But I wanted soooo much to be more like my Momma. She was awesome! She was cool! She was beautiful! She was talented! She was smart! She was popular! She could do anything! Anything!!!

She loved her family. She worked hard. She played harder. And she was involved in EVERYTHING that was cool in this little community! Ok, let me correct that… she MADE everything that she was involved in super cool!!! Because of this, everyone wanted to be around her because she was just so much fun to be around so all the events and organizations she volunteered for were always successful.

So this week as Daddy and I remembered Momma and Donny and Sissy, I was predictably given more signs… and of course… I had to follow. From the flower arrangements I placed at their gravesites, to the Beatles songs that played randomly on the radio, to the movies that popped up on TV, to my two little lovebirds that made it “official” this week, to the contracts that fell through (likely Sissy’s doings since she hated gossip and drama and knew that it would probably blow up in my face later on with them), to the return of peace and love and happiness back into what remains of our little family, to being asked by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to lobby for cancer research funding and easier access to affordable treatment for cancer patients in Washington DC in a few weeks, to the odd number of elephant sightings in just one week (Momma collected elephants)… I knew Momma was here… right here by my side still pushing me and triggering that voice in my head guiding every move I made.

It was right after our TEAM’s open water swim practice, after I successfully did the group’s Mission Moment without crying (even talking about the anniversary of Momma’s and Donny’s death), when Sarah’s mom, Anita, posted countless photos and videos of the ABSOLUTELY STUNNING LAKE and our group doing a phenomenal job at swimming from dock to dock and then called us all “Super heroes”. To her, I am a hero.

Do you have any idea how special that is? To have a little girl who is fighting cancer call you a hero?!?!?!

I don’t have words for this feeling.

If you knew Sarah and Anita… If you were lucky enough to get one of Sarah’s hugs… and she called you a hero… You’d be speechless, too.

I had refrained from posting a lot this week because I didn’t want my blog to have an air of sadness or instigate pity as a result of Momma and Donny’s anniversaries. But the joke’s on me…

These were all pretty good days.

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