Archive for mission moment

Your Crap Sandwich

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2014 by runmyssierun

A SPECIAL THANKSGIVING MISSION MOMENT… please read, and remember that there is still work to do. ‪#‎TNTSCTX‬

Thanksgiving by Kristie Escoe

“Thanksgiving. Giving thanks. Something I’ve found pretty easy to do most years, and took for granted pretty much every year up until now. Sure, I know a little bit about worrying about the health of family members. So I thought I was a veteran at worrying, but always managed to give thanks irregardless. WRONG. Nothing prepares you for the fear and worry when your child is ill. More than ill. Ill with a disease that, even in this day and age, still claims innocent victims. And now you want me to give thanks?????


Imagine every year for Thanksgiving that you and your family go to a wonderful all-you-can-eat buffet. The food is always great and you look forward to getting the same delicious meal, year after year. So this year, you give your standard order to the waitress: an appetizer of “love”, a “caring” salad, the side dishes, “thoughtfulness” “compassion” and “laughter” and a big, juicy entrée of “good health and happiness for everyone”. The waitress brings you everything you asked for but the entrée. Instead, in front of you on the table, she places a big, fat crap sandwich. And the conversation goes a little something like this:

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YOU: “Excuse me, I didn’t order this crap sandwich”
WAITRESS: “House special. You got it without asking”
YOU: “But I don’t want a crap sandwich. I want good health and happiness for everyone.”
WAITRESS: “Well, you got a crap sandwich.”
YOU (getting upset): “Well take it back and give me what I asked for instead!”
WAITRESS points to a sign that says “Absolutely NO substitutions”
YOU say adamantly: “There is positively no way I am going to be able to choke down this crap sandwich and I think it’s really unfair for you to expect me to”
And the waitress replies “Hey, look. You’ve still got love, caring, thoughtfulness, compassion and laughter, so try to appreciate those. Oh, I almost forgot, here’s your condiment tray for the crap sandwich. You also get big overflowing bowls of fear, worry, anger, guilt and resentment. Bon Appetit!”

And so you’re looking around the restaurant, feeling really grumpy about your crap sandwich, and you realize that there are a lot more people with crap sandwiches than you ever thought possible. And from the looks on their faces, none of them ordered them, either. Then you see a couple of tables with really, really big, Dagwood-sized crap sandwiches and you summon the waitress again. “Excuse me, why are their crap sandwiches so big?” And she explains that those people are facing situations even worse than yours. Their kids haven’t responded well to treatment, have had cancer relapses, or worse yet, died. And you start to think maybe your crap sandwich isn’t so bad after all. Maybe you should keep your big mouth shut, choke it down, and be glad when it’s all gone and everyone is well again. And then, right then, your waitress reminds you of one last thing: “Management reserves the right to serve you another, bigger crap sandwich, anytime they want”
We are nearing the END of treatment, not just starting out. The crap sandwich we have left on our plate is crumb-sized… we’ll be choking down the last few bites in the upcoming year and then OUR. PLATE. WILL. BE. EMPTY!!!
But, we’ll be required to hang out in the bar of the restaurant for the next five years or so. We won’t order off a menu, or make eye-contact with any employee on purpose, heaven forbid. For the next five years we will sit in the bar and keep a low profile and hope and pray the waitress doesn’t come back to our table. I’m not sure when we can ever pay our check and leave… and as long as we’re here, we’ll continue to see crap sandwiches being slung out of the kitchen on a regular basis. You don’t want one yourself, and you hate to see anyone else getting one, either. But you know they’re coming. So you just duck and pray you don’t get hit.”

The above was posted on the Team in Training Central South Texas facebook page. Now, I know I’ve been guilty a few gazillion times of complaining over things that ultimately in the big scheme of things don’t really matter and take for granted so many things that so many others would give anything for.

I’m trying. I really am trying to slow down, breathe life in, smell the roses, see the silver lining and enjoy my itty bitty little crap sandwich. You know… it really isn’t all that bad. How’s yours? It really isn’t as bad as some of the others around, huh?

Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving and hope that you all have the opportunities like I do to enjoy a feast of great bounty with friends, family and dear loved ones above and acknowledge the endless beautiful blessings around us. May we all seek betterment for mankind, find contentment and gratitude for our current possessions and situations, live peacefully amongst all peoples with encouragement, kindness, tolerance and compassion for all. And in doing so, may we find inner peace, health and happiness.

P.S. As a rule of mine when I first started this blog, I said I wouldn’t write about my personal relationships with my children and husband and other close family members where it didn’t pertain to my health and fitness journey and the road to a cancer-free world. Today, that rule will be broken. These last three years could have easily been a downward spiral to a rock bottom of epic proportions. But they weren’t. I’m not saying they weren’t difficult – because they surely were! But had it not been for the love and support of my family, I’m not really sure I’d be here today smiling like I am. Soooooo no details buuuutttt I find myself in a similar situation in that I’ve lost so many of my close family members over the last few years and in the next few days, I am about to lose another. And while this loss is not one resulting from death or cancer, the distance will sting my heart with excruciating pain. For this reason, I have been quite silent over the last few months and will likely continue to keep the posts rare until I find the strength and time to journal the thoughts of a fluffy-middle-aged marathoner/triathlete/centurion and future Ironman’s journey to a cancer-free world.

~Much love & Happy Thanksgiving!

Send off Mission Moment

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2014 by runmyssierun

So it’s send off time. This is when the team gets all the instructions for hotel stay, meetings, check ins, and everything else for game day…. CapTexTri.

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We all meet at Cordon’s. It’s a beautiful day and we’re all outside.. and it’s mission moment. This is the third time I’ve been asked to do a mission moment in my history of Team in Training. The following is what I said:

 

March 21, 2012

quit (verb) – to stop trying, struggling, or the like; accept or acknowledge defeat.

These past two weeks were emotionally difficult for me. I saw my usually vivacious, super-power infused mother weak, frail and suffering. Whatever was in this last treatment knocked everything out of her. I could get my thumb and touch it with my index finger and her leg could fit right through it. Her hair has now fallen off and her normally wrinkle free olive skin has an odd grayish/yellow tint to it.

I was worried – really worried – for the first time ever. So I spent the weekend with her and then called her main doctor at MD Anderson. After questioning me about her symptoms, we agreed that it was best for her to return to Houston for a week so he could monitor her better under medical staff care. I was not comforted by his concern.

She grabbed my hand and squeezed it with all her might and looked me straight in the eyes and said “I’m worried about Myssie. She has so much on her plate right now. Can you keep an eye on her and help out?”

We had been warned that her memory functions may be lost as a result of her last radiation treatment. I don’t know who she thought I was at the time but I was glad that I had the strength and courage not to have the shock and sadness show in my reaction to her as I replied with “I will Momma, I will. Don’t you worry. I’ll take good care of her.”

That was Sunday about noon time. They drove to MD Anderson on Sunday afternoon and met with her doctor on Monday morning.

I was sitting at my desk working on a proposal for a client of mine just shortly before lunch. I had a ton of meetings scheduled and needed tons more to make my quota. The stress was insane. That’s when I got the phone call from Dad.

“Myssie, can you talk?”

“Yes Daddy. What did the doctor say?”

“It’s not good. There’s nothing more that they can do. We’re coming home…. right now. They’ve released her to hospice. We’ll be home about 6:30.”

There must have been at least a year of silence after that. I was crushed.

Why?

I was asked just days ago by my Team in Training coach why I was running. Why I was putting my body through this? What was I doing this for?

As silly as it may sound, part of me was hoping that God would see how hard I was trying. That He would see that I was willing to take the pain away from her and volunteer it onto me in order to not have her suffer any more. I wanted that pain and suffering to quit. I wanted cancer to quit. Because I wasn’t going to allow myself to quit. I would never quit.

Well, that was until I heard those words from my dad.

I did want to quit. I wanted so badly to throw in the towel and give up. Why should I run? Really, why should I? It’s not like running a marathon will produce a cure for my mom as I cross the finish line. What am I doing? I should just quit.

I thought long and hard about how to tell friends and family about the news. I wanted to be angry and blame everything from preservatives to toxic land for her suffering. But I am so glad I didn’t. I took a deep breath and took a step back and told myself now is how I must example the way she brought me up.

The following is what I posted to friends and family on my facebook wall:

Science and medicine has done all that it possibly can. Momma has shown incredible strength and faith through these tough 6-plus years. The choice to discontinue treatment does not mean that she has quit. It means that she is strong enough to accept God’s will and live the remainder of her life with her family and friends at home instead of hotel rooms and hospitals. I am so very proud of her bravery, so very thankful to her miraculous team of doctors and so very grateful for everyone’s prayers, kind gestures and help. Keep them coming.

See, my mother is not a quitter. Cancer will likely beat her body. But it won’t beat her. She’ll never quit. Her legacy will live on and continue to teach us, to love us and to give unto others. She never quit. And neither will I.

 

 

The last two and a half years I’ve spent running, swimming and biking alongside the most courageous, selfless and kind athletes in the world. Many of them were going through cancer treatment, had recently successfully beat cancer or were friends and/or family members of those who had lost their battle to cancer. Many of them. Too many of them. Way too many of them.

Two weeks ago, I walked 9.7 miles in and around our Nation’s Capitol pleading with our political leaders to help make cancer treatment more accessible and more affordable for cancer patients, MS patients, Alzheimer’s patients, Parkinson’s patients … and more. I was not alone there either. I begged alongside a TV celebrity, Ethan Zohn, the winner of the TV reality show Survivor, who really was a cancer survivor. But after he won the show, he found out that cancer stuck once again. He shared with me his completely candid and genuine emotions.

The whole world thought he was this tough guy, strong enough to beat cancer, strong enough to win in the brutal jungles of Survivor. He was a pillar of hope for those who were currently battling cancer. And suddenly he was scared again like a little boy. What was his fear? If he went public with his disease and DIDN’T win, what would that do to their hope?

Thankfully, he did go public and he did beat cancer a second time and he is still scared he’ll have to fight it again a third time. That fear looms over the head of cancer survivors all the time.  Until we find a cure, that fear will always be there… for every single one of us. None of us are immune.

As he spoke to us, everyone began to weep. Oncology doctors, nurses and social workers, LLS volunteers, family members and loved ones of those lost and survivors, like Ethan, all connected.

And that’s when I was asked “Are YOU a survivor?” and the woman next to me put her arm around me and replied “She lost all of her family except for her father to cancer in one year. She is a survivor. She is all that is left.”

Truth is, we are all survivors right now. We are all living with cancer. Because cancer doesn’t affect just the patient. It affects us all.  And until we find a cure for cancer, we have no choice but to keep living, keep fighting, keep running… keep TRIing.

Blurry

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on February 16, 2014 by runmyssierun

Team in Training Triathlon Team Winter 2014

This morning’s fog may have blurred my mind a bit. Still unsure of where these *signs* are leading me, I questioned my purpose.

I got up and ready after a pretty tough emotional week (again) and headed over to Bill Schupp Park for our team’s Mission Mile for our honored heroes and those we’ve lost. I’m sure it was just my inner me that didn’t want to confront the dark corner inside me that doesn’t like to deal with this emotion that was likely to come up and the memories that it tags along with it. But I did it. Plus I needed to turn in my fundraising letters so that I could win the “Go Getter Grant”.

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It was both the TNT Marathon team and the Triathlon team together. I handed out purple, green and white ribbons for all my team mates to wear during practice. Each color represented someone who we were running for in 1.) honor of, 2.) memory of or was a 3.) survivor.

Many of us had several ribbons in various colors.

I decided to wear only two. One for my Momma and one for Sarah. Sarah is my honored team mate this season and has been before in other seasons. She was there at the park with us and greeted me with that bright cheery hug she is so famous for.

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Her mother, Anita, took center stage for our mission moment. She announced that Sarah had been declared officially in remission earlier this week.

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Honest to God, I could not remember any of the rest of what she said because I was overwhelmed with joy. My tears propelled from my eyes and there was nothing I could do to stop them.

I had been so heartbroken just a few days ago for personal selfish reasons and took this as my little sign to let it go and see the happiness that is happening around me. And then Dezma’s grandfather took the stage… err … trail. It was then that he reminded me that it was just a year ago in a few weeks that Dezma lost her fight with cancer. He uncovered a larger than life sized photo of her and paraded it in front of us and I was right at the very end of the line of teammates. It was when he got to me that he exploded.

“God Damn It! I HATE LEUKEMIA!!!” he cried out.

I lost it. I seriously lost it. I hate it, too.

He led us into the Mission Mile holding her picture up. We all followed in silence.

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The Warrior inside her

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2014 by runmyssierun

The very first Team in Training Triathlon Team practice happened on Saturday. We ran just a couple of miles. I don’t really like this about me at all anymore but I’ll be honest. I didn’t really think that was a workout for me. I run a mile as a warm up and another mile as a cool down regularly.

Isn’t that amazing???? I feel so pretentious, proud and guilty at the same time for this!!! Whodathought a few years ago that I, the middle-aged overweight anti-gym bunny sweat is icky girl, could run a whole mile without stopping?!?!?!?

And then Monday came around… it was dark, cold and drizzling rain. I wasn’t really prepared for the wetness so I wore all the wrong stuff. Thank goodness I carry extra gear in my trunk and had my trusty orange wind and water resistant jacket from German!!! It made all the difference in the world.

Coach “W” called out our workout to the group, “Lets go 4 to 5 times over the hill. That should be about 2 miles.”

Ugh! 2 miles again!!! *ya, that’s my attitude that needed some spanking

Off we went! I was, as always, the last to run up. I’m ok with that. I couldn’t hear my music and the rain was accumulating all over me… especially in my hair!!! It made the run more uncomfortable than I expected. But wait… oh… oh no… it’s not the rain that made this uncomfortable for me… it’s my… oh … oh noooooo!!!

Boom! I sprinted across that hill and luckily yelled out to Sarah’s mom who was cheering me on and trying desperately to take a photo of me – I couldn’t smile. “Tell Coach that I need to go to the bathroom! I’m going to Embassy Suuuuuuiiiiiites!!!!”

Whew!!! I made it just in the nick of time. TMI?

Sorry. I’m candid and tell it like it is. Sometimes when you run… pee happens. That’s the truth.

I returned back to the gang and continued my run and obviously the last one to run in because of my kidney explosion.

We gathered back together in a circle to stretch. Coach “W” then said something that snapped me back into reality…

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She said that along with coaching us through these next few months of physical training, she would also incorporate some mental training. “W” clenched her fists and pounded her heart as she said “When I speak of ‘spirit’, I don’t mean religion… I mean the inner spirit in all of us. I have a warrior in me.”

Our coach is a cancer survivor. She told us of a childhood memory she had of her being a warrior and how she ran around in her backyard from one side of the fence to the other as her dogs followed her and she imagined them being wolves. She giggled for a while as she reminisced. “We all have a warrior inside of us.”

“We need to remember WHY we are doing this.”

BLAM!!!

2 miles is 2 miles… and it actually ended up being 3! I must never scoff at that ever again. It wasn’t that long ago that I could go only one block. It wasn’t that long ago that it dawned on me that my Momma would never be able to run a mile… ever. That’s when it came back to me. Remember WHY I’m doing this.

So on today, World Cancer Day, I remember. I will likely need reminders again as I am human and get wrapped up in the nothingness of my life. It takes me a while to recognize these little signs but when I do… wow. It’s pretty powerful.

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Faulty stars

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2014 by runmyssierun

Training in bipolar weather is an adventure. One day it’s 80 degrees and the next day our streets are closed off because of black ice. Makes it difficult for scheduling bike rides or group runs. So on Sunday evening when the sun danced in a cloudless sky, I took the chance to run the trails in Mission. I normally run the 2nd street trail because it’s usually filled with familiar runners… but that’s usually at the crack of dawn. And it was already late in the afternoon.

I took the chance and went to the afternoon runner hangout, Mission Trails. I plugged in my playlist.. a new one.. err old one that I hadn’t really listened to since I was a teenager. It didn’t really have the bpm that I was striving for but honestly I had been sick for a while with congestion and had missed a few days of running so I didn’t know if I could/should push myself into a high bpm and wear myself out and/or get myself even worse.

Kinda cool what a few days of rest does for your body. It was my fastest time in a little over a year. My pace went from an embarrassing 13-some minute mile to a 7:41. I don’t know if it was the rest, the music, the new trail or the thoughts in my head… whatevs… I’ll take it. I did a nice warm up mile and then went full blast into my 7-minute mile. After I saw what I did, I was pretty dang proud and then it happened… squirrel. When I’m at a new place, I’m like a big ol’ kid and have to explore and heaven forbid there be a sign that tells me not to go into a certain area. That’s like a big fancy wedding invitation to me!!! With the exploring into the trails, my time went down a bit but boy oh boy was it fun getting lost!!

My swimming, my running and my cycling have all improved and I’m stoked to begin my new season with Team in Training Triathlon team – the first tri team for tnt in our area! I love my coaching staff. I’ve seen them in action and have already trained with them. Phenomenal in action, genuine encouragement and humble in deed. These are traits that I prosper with and that I’ve seen others do incredibly well, too.

We had our first “kick-off” this weekend and was really impressed with the alumni and newbies that signed up for the challenge. It was a great mix of experienced athletes and excited rookies but all had an immense internal need to do all they could to fight cancer. This was especially evident when our two honored heroes were continuously greeted with hugs and kisses and showered with gifts and goodie bags.

See, the little known incredible fact about MY honored heroes is that they really ARE super heroes. Superman was an animated comic. And as awesome as he was written up to be… kryptonite could still take him down. But MY heroes can run a marathon, can beat cancer and are NOT imaginary comic strips (although they are both very animated). They are both very very real people fighting a very very real enemy to the human race and planet Earth.

In ancient Greece, they looked up to the stars and honored gods that controlled various elements of our world. Today, we can look up to the stars and know that the rest of our heroes have full control of our hearts and empower us with passion enough to change the world. They are our angels.

Today, I think those angels came back to my training schedule. In a time where many parts of our nation and even my city closed because of the unusually fierce cold weather, not a single gust of wind blew this morning. The temperatures went up a few degrees making a bike ride bearable. While it was still a bit chilly compared to our normal temperatures in the Rio Grande Valley, it was no where near what it was like yesterday. Only one other brave soul joined me in the 5 a.m. Wake Up Ride. I’m sure word will soon spread about my weather angels. So long as I continue to do this in their honor and memory, I have full faith that they will ensure a safe and comfortable outdoor workout.

And to make today even more special… I was greeted with a note from a former co-worker and advertising client.

I hope she doesn’t mind but I have to share her words with you.

“Because, you have been such an inspiration to me, and I absolutely think you are truly one of the most truthful and motivational people I know, I would love to have 10% of the ticket proceeds for the McAllen retreat to sponsor you.”

Her kind gesture and donation meant so much to me today because just yesterday I was told that another co-worker (from a different job) had been spreading a malicious rumor about me. The contradiction was pretty amazing. P.S. I’ve worked with some pretty amazing people and I’ve worked with a few crazies … Hasn’t everyone?

It used to be that malicious rumors ran rampant around me at all times by this same group of similar people who (coincidentally?) all run within the same circles of friends. However, now… for every rumor that comes back around to my ears about me, I have ten compliments and kind gestures that muffle and discredit that rumor.

I feel validated in my efforts to give of myself to others. I feel like for all that I do, for all that I sacrifice, that the Big Guy upstairs really IS taking care of me and rewarding me tenfold. You do something nice for someone and someone else will ruin you for it… But God will reward.

I really need to find out about the next ACTs retreat. It’s time.

Oh! Aaaannnnnndddd…. I was asked to sit on the Board of the Rio Grande Valley Colonoscopy Assistance Program. Our first fundraiser is a 5k on March 1 at Fireman’s park in McAllen. I am so honored to have been asked!!!! 🙂

THIS IS HUGE!

My training is working. My fundraising is coming into place. I’m getting recognized for my efforts in my community. I’m gaining support. And people are getting the help that they need!!!!

***Okay? Okay.
#thefaultinourstars

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Sole Survivor

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2014 by 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 told them that there will be times in your life when you’ll be knocked down to rock bottom and you’ll have to find the courage within yourself to get yourself back up. It’s a story about hope, determination, love, stewardship, sacrifice and faith. And when someone say’s that you can’t do something, turn around and tell them “watch me”.

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I was a little —- no—- I was really very very very nervous in the beginning. I feel so much more comfortable typing my feelings and experiences on a computer rather that talking about them under a spotlight in front of a couple hundred strangers staring at me. But I needed to say it out loud. To them. For me.

I cried. I warned them about my crying even before I started so I guess I was covered on that but I cried a lot. There was one time that I had to stop, wipe my tears and take a few deep breaths… I’m sure the silence was awkward for them. And I managed to  struggle through with two ovations to boot!

My story was unique in that it touched each one of the topics over the several days. My story was NOT unique in that EVERY speaker began the same way and ended the same way and each of us stressed to the girls that no matter what adversity life gives you, keep going after your dream.

“The question is not Who’s going to let me. It is Who is going to STOP ME!”

There was a defining point in my speech where all their eyes were fixated on me. Come to think of it… It was quite the defining point in my life as well.

It wasn’t planned that way, at least no one told me about it if it was, but each speaker began their speech with “I am no different from you. I am not any more special than you.” We were all from this community. We were all from humble upbringings. We all had similar values – family, education, God, health, community. We had all been given opportunities at one point or another and it took sacrifice to receive those opportunities. We had all had a visit and tour around rock bottom. We all lived to tell the tale. And we all did pretty good for ourselves.

Sound familiar? Maybe a little like you?

Good!

I know my story has a lot of death in it. I try very hard to let people know about the experience of death, witnessing it, dealing with it and doing all you can to move forward through it in a healthy way without making it sound like I’m dwelling on it.  Yes, it has been very very difficult but I also had to remember that I have two boys that still need me healthy, happy and alive for them. So when people connect to my story, I know deep inside that they have a rock bottom experience as well. That’s when I turn it on.

One girl raised her hand to ask a question but immediately got incredibly timid when I asked her to repeat it because I couldn’t hear her. She repeated it again but even softer and then shook her head and said “nevermind”.

I knew immediately… this was an important question. So, I didn’t back down. I stayed there until she said the question aloud again for everyone to hear. It was important for everyone to hear this. No question was silly, stupid or unworthy… especially this one.

“After all you went through, did you go to therapy?”

My reply was:

“Yes, I went to therapy. I still go to therapy. Running has become my therapy. There are some days when I train in groups for events. And there are some days when I run by myself for this very reason. I need to be alone with my thoughts, with myself and I pray when I run. It’s ok to feel sad sometimes. But we HAVE to find it within ourselves to get ourselves out of it and find happiness again.”  I wish you could have seen their faces when I told them it was ok to feel sad sometimes. It was as if I had given them permission to be normal.

It’s been proven that physical exercise helps us cope and reduce our stress levels.  Clearly I could have gone the other way and fallen quickly into the rabbit hole of depression. But I didn’t. Running saved me. Team in Training saved me.

I am a sole survivor.

I just spoke to the most amazing group of young women and my heart melted when a swarm of them caught me as I was leaving. They each asked me to take individual photos with them and spoke to me about their own experiences with cancer and their own "impossible goals" that they want to achieve. Honored and humbled and a smile from ear to ear!!!

I just spoke to the most amazing group of young women and my heart melted when a swarm of them caught me as I was leaving. They each asked me to take individual photos with them and spoke to me about their own experiences with cancer and their own “impossible goals” that they want to achieve. Honored and humbled and a smile from ear to ear!!!

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I lost my best friend to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma just a few months before he was to walk with me down the isle at my wedding. His name was Rodney Perez. He bravely battled cancer for 5 years. He died at age 24.

I lost my grandmother, Lorenza “Lencha” Cavazos and grandfather, Narciso Cavazos to Leukemia.

I lost my baby brother, Donny Cardenas, not from cancer but from what cancer does to loved ones and caregivers… what no one talks about, the stress that the family deals with while caring for their loved ones like financial stress and emotional stress. He felt he had to take on this burden by himself. He dealt by eating all the wrong things, drinking, locking himself up from the world. He had a heart attack at age 38.

I lost my Aunt Sissy – the woman who raised me while mom worked and went back to school. Leukemia stole her from us and her three years of retirement that she worked all her life for.

I lost my beautiful close friend Jana Miller. A brilliant doctor, fun loving and kind hearted. She was diagnosed at stage IV during her 3rd year of med school. She finished, practiced and became an active member of the community. Few people knew she lived ten years with cancer. Her smile fooled everyone.

I lost my Momma. On Easter of this last year. Exactly one year after we lost my baby brother Donny. Eight months after losing her sister Sissy.

I’m sorry. I still can’t talk about my Momma.

I joined Team in Training because I thought that if the world and God saw how hard I was trying to do this impossible run… then maybe, just maybe, the world and God would make the impossible cure possible.

And when I ran my first full marathon in San Diego, just a couple of months after my Momma died, a woman yelled at me – when I wanted to quit – I was at mile 22 – she said “You are running for the treatment that has kept me alive! Please, don’t stop!”

Thats when I understood that hundreds, thousands of strangers for years before this had run for the treatment that allowed my mother to spend 6 more years with me, 3 more years with Sissy, 10 more years with Jana.

So I close with what I’ve had posted on my facebook over this last year…

I never ran to try to beat your time

I ran because I tried to buy my mom more time

I ran so that I could help find a cure

I ran so that I could help my mom pay for that cure

It didn’t work out the way I had planned

Now I run so that you don’t have to go

through what my mom and I did.

See, the thing is that I first thought I was running for a cure for my Momma.

I had no idea that Team in Training would be a part of MY cure.

 

Thank you

 

It’s easier to run

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2013 by runmyssierun

People do things for other people that they wouldn’t ordinarily do for themselves,” Pamela Anderson (the well known actress who played the sexy lifeguard on the TV show Baywatch) told the press when she started training for the ING NY Marathon. She completed the marathon in 5 hours and 41 minutes.

Pamela Anderson during and after the 2013 New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. (Left: Seth Wenig / Associated Press; right: Pamela Anderson / Twitter)

Pamela Anderson during and after the 2013 New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. (Left: Seth Wenig / Associated Press; right: Pamela Anderson / Twitter)

This is exactly the behavior that convinces me that there is more good in the human race than bad. Sure there are a few people out there that are in it all just for themselves and don’t care to do anything for anyone else but themselves… the world revolves around them… they’re a legend in their own mind… and that’s all fine and dandy. Those people are clearly on a journey that is destined for a grand lesson.

Less than an hour after I posted my last blog entry, I received a text on my phone from one of my blog followers that stated “Dezma’s donations complete. You inspire us to help others. Love you!!”

If you haven’t read that last entry, I talked a little bit about Dezma’s family continuing to run in her memory. They pledged to raise $100,000.00 to fund a research program for AML patients in her name. However, at the time of my posting, they were $2,000.00 short of their goal.

I am happy to announce that TEAM DEZMA reached their goal. A research grant named after Dezma Chavez will soon be underway thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors and one very special follower of this little blog.

TEAM DEZMA will be running together at the San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon next weekend. Keep them in your prayers.

Over the last year or so, I’ve had a few people criticize me/my actions/my motives saying that I talk too much about myself, brag too much about all my achievements and that I am desperate for attention. I feel so redeemed now. The above paragraphs validate me, my actions and my motives. It’s not about ME. I think sometimes some of the people who read this enter my blog with ill-intent from the get go. They see a before and after photo and feel inadequate or they see the large number of “likes” on a Facebook post and question their own likability and want desperately to pull me down into the crab bucket.  This kind of behavior does us no good. It’s destructive. Don’t compare yourself to the events I’m doing or what I look like. Focus on making yourself better than you were yesterday and on making the world a better place.

Had I not mentioned in my blog the $2k that Team Dezma needed… had I not had so many incredible generous donors following me…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Just because you post a lot does not mean that you are not humble.  I post to share a story, to inform, to inspire and to instigate a positive response. I want to grab the world by it’s shoulders and shake some sense into it! Stop turning a blind eye to the problem. Wake up and do something for yourself and for the rest of the world.

I went to celebrate the Cyclepaths recently on their successful journey to Ironman. Their story is incredible! A true testament to what can be done with sheer dedication and “iron will”. While I was there, I was taken aback by a few comments made to me that night. (I won’t post all of the shocking comments and I understand that a few people probably had too much to drink that night – still no excuse in my book)

“I read your blog but there was no mention of me in it so I stopped reading it.”

Hmmmmm

I didn’t respond to that person. In fact, I pretended not to hear her and simply turned around and walked away. Oh but remember that brutally mean and sarcastic girl inside my head that yells at me all the time during races? Ya, she had a lot to say. Thankfully, the rest of the world can’t hear the sarcasm in my head.

So, on that note, let me be clear about this little blog.

It’s not about you. It’s not even about me.

This is about a promise that I made to my family members that were stolen from me by cancer and my journey to fulfill that promise.  Along my journey I meet a myriad of people on similar paths. I open myself and my heart in every vulnerable way to them and absorb the determination, lessons and love that they share with me in hopes that together we will find a way to heal from our losses and prevent other losses from happening as a result of cancer.  I find solace and healing with these people and these activities. Together we ignite happiness in each other’s lives again.

Sissy chose for me to run as part of this journey.  Running quickly evolved into Triathlons and Cycling and a completely new active and healthy lifestyle for me (I have a feeling this was all part of Sissy’s master plan). Defeating/preventing cancer and helping caregivers while loved ones endure the wrath of cancer is the other component of my journey. I post about (1) running, (2) triathlons, (3) cycling and (4) cancer and every emotion and physical trial that attaches itself to these. If you’re here to read about my children, my relationship, my work or what’s going on with my friends… good luck. It’s not gonna happen unless they are directly tied to the 4 subjects stated here.

I close today’s post with a reminder of why I do what I do: the speech that I gave at Team in Training’s “Mission Moment”

I lost my best friend to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma just a few months before he was to walk with me down the isle at my wedding. His name was Rodney Perez. He bravely battled cancer for 5 years. He died at age 24.

I lost my grandmother, Lorenza “Lencha” Cavazos and grandfather, Narciso Cavazos to Leukemia.

I lost my baby brother, Donny Cardenas, not from cancer but from what cancer does to loved ones and caregivers… what no one talks about, the stress that the family deals with while caring for their loved ones like financial stress and emotional stress. He felt he had to take on this burden by himself. He dealt by eating all the wrong things, drinking, locking himself up from the world. He had a heart attack at age 38.

I lost my Aunt Sissy – the woman who raised me while mom worked and went back to school. Leukemia stole her from us and her three years of retirement that she worked all her life for.

I lost my beautiful close friend Jana Miller. A brilliant doctor, fun loving and kind hearted… many you were in Junior League with her. She was diagnosed at stage IV during her 3rd year of med school. She finished, practiced and became an active member of the community. Few people knew she lived ten years with cancer. Her smile fooled everyone.

I lost my Momma. On Easter of this last year. Exactly one year after we lost my baby brother Donny. Eight months after losing her sister Sissy.

I’m sorry. I still can’t talk about my Momma.

I joined Team in Training because I thought that if the world and God saw how hard I was trying to do this impossible run… then maybe, just maybe, the world and God would make the impossible cure possible.

And when I ran my first full marathon in San Diego, just a couple of months after my Momma died, a woman yelled at me – when I wanted to quit – I was at mile 22 – she said “You are running for the treatment that has kept me alive! Please, don’t stop!”

Thats when I understood that hundreds, thousands of strangers for years before this had run for the treatment that allowed my mother to spend 6 more years with me, 3 more years with Sissy, 10 more years with Jana.

So I close with what I’ve had posted on my facebook over this last year…

I never ran to try to beat your time
I ran because I tried to buy my mom more time
I ran so that I could help find a cure
I ran so that I could help my mom pay for that cure
It didn’t work out the way I had planned
Now I run so that you don’t have to go
through what my mom and I did.

See, the thing is that I first thought I was running for a cure for my Momma.
I had no idea that Team in Training would be a part of MY cure.

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