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The Journey to Healing

Posted in cancer, training for my first half ironman with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2019 by runmyssierun

IMG_3603Eight years ago yesterday, I began my journey healing from the after effects of cancer by running and strengthening my relationship with God. Many have followed my candid documentary of it through my blog (www.runmyssierun.com), social media posts and/or joined me on the jogging trail or in the church at mass, Catholic Daughters, or ACTs. I remember someone telling me when Donny died that time heals. They said it again six months later when Sissy died. And again six months after that when Momma died. Although I understand, appreciate and am grateful for them trying to console me but I’m still not sure it’s TIME that has helped heal me. What I do know is that what helped ME was a phenomenal group of genuine, loving people who care surrounded me and encouraged me to find healthy outlets for my emotions. I took up running to heal my body (not to become a professional athlete – I have to make that clear for a certain group of people who follow). I felt it was better to take out my anger on the pavement than on the loved ones closest to me. I sought out the light of God in all that I did and if I did not see Him there, I dropped it from my life. By doing both, my eyes and heart were exposed to things I had not seen before: how cancer affects so many of us, too many of us, how God is there always and too many times it’s us that are not, and when you go through things that you don’t understand and are truly horrific, its because He is having you connect the dots, become stronger and wiser so that when they ARE connected, you KNOW and BLAM! – it hits you and it all makes sense. Eight years of this and the dots are finally connecting for me. I’ve met so many wonderful people, learned so much about cancer, how far science and medicine has come, how many gaps are still left to bridge and how possible we can make the impossible happen if we all work together for a greater cause. Thank you Lord for the hardships that you carried me through, thank you Momma for the prayers you devoted to me, thank you Sissy for saving my life with your last wish, thank you to my running coaches, mentors, teams, sponsors and fellow runners who encouraged me to not quit and push harder, thank you to my family, my sons and my husband for supporting me through those heart shattering moments that lasted years and in some ways still continue, thank you to my sisters in Christ who continuously pray for me and everyone who has been and will be touched by cancer, thank you to my fellow Realtors® who have now stepped up and in to this next phase of mine, just as my Momma did – still not ready to fill her shoes but certainly am ready to follow the footsteps she proudly trekked.

So with that, a few weeks ago, a fellow Realtor and cycling amigo rounded up a few of us who run and ride and a challenge was set forth: we were all to run 1000 mile (collectively) during the month of October and some of the businesses that we work with in the industry would match $1 per mile that we run and donate the money to the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer & Hematology Clinic. We created a facebook group and a Strava group to encourage/motivate each other and log our miles together. As of today, 4 days into October, we already have approximately 350 miles in to our goal! As Realtors®, we stereo typically lead very unhealthy, high stress lives. Most of us spend too much time in our cars driving rather than walking, running or cycling. We eat whatever is convenient and cheap so highly processed, high calorie fast food is the norm or skipping meals and binge eating/drinking late in the day is common. It didn’t take long for our little group to explode and offer hope and encouragement to our other members. We have 5ks on our calendar every weekend in October. Tomorrow’s Chacha Run in Edinburg will be our first.

But I had a dilemma. All these years, I was known for running in ORANGE because it was my Momma’s favorite color. The Chacha run and most October Breast Cancer awareness runs use the color PINK to signify and bring awareness to the issue. Long story short – I have nothing in pink to run in and wear tomorrow.

TODAY one of my best friends surprised me with THIS and all I could give her back were a flood of happy tears and big bear hugs. She took the time, effort and creativity to design and create this and have it made custom for me in time for this race tomorrow. ISN’T SHE AWESOME!?!?!? I know I am blessed not because I’m feeling all high and mighty but just the opposite – I’m humbled and unworthy of all the greatness bestowed upon me. I am blessed because through all of this loss, hardship, heartbreak, family destruction and cracks in the foundation of what I thought was me was God’s light shining through and connecting these dots, these moments, experiences and strangers who quickly became solid life long best friends is the healing. Thank you Irene Becerra Thompson and every one at Pescador Fishing Apparel! Y’all caught me by surprise today and love you all so much for it! I will proudly wear pink tomorrow for #mimismiles and to those who run beside me, I hope you feel the breeze from the wings of the angels around me. I hope that in the steps we all take tomorrow, today, this month, we are able to make a difference in the lives of the children fighting cancer in our community. My heart is smiling today!!!

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Cattle Baron’s Ball Shocking Honoree

Posted in cancer, Mom with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2015 by runmyssierun

A short while ago, I got a message via facebook to meet over coffee from a good friend. While sipping coffee at Starbucks, she ever so gracefully mentioned honoring my mother and I at this year’s Cattle Baron’s Ball. I’ll admit, I was stunned and didn’t know what to say or do other than keep the coffee from spurting out of my mouth and onto her impeccably styled self and just nodding my head up and down.

Cattle Baron's Ball Trifold Yep, that's my family in there.

Cattle Baron’s Ball Trifold
Yep, that’s my family in there.

A few years ago, when Momma was first diagnosed with cancer, she was named REALTOR OF THE YEAR by her fellow Realtors and members of the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors.  I remember her hanging her head low shortly after accepting the award and shared a rare moment of doubt with me.

“They feel sorry for me because I have cancer. That’s why they voted for me,” said whispered to me.

“Momma, this wasn’t pity. We all admire you. Not everything is about cancer.”

She forced a smile on her face and gave me a hug. I knew I did an awful job of convincing her that it wasn’t pity. I wish I could go back in time and tell her something else… something eloquent, profound and full of wisdom, poetic and strong enough to have made her believe what I saw and admired in her.

Oh how hindsight is so 20/20!!! How I would do things differently if given the chance.

Momma was an officer for GMAR (Greater McAllen Association of Realtors) for several years and was President elect the year that she was diagnosed with cancer. No one told her to – but she removed herself from the position to tend to her treatments. She was never the type of person to not give %110 and she thought that her treatment away at MD Anderson would diminish her effectiveness as a leader for this organization that she loved so much.

She did an awesome job of teaching me by example to never half-ass something important to you. You do it %110 or don’t do it at all until you’re ready.

What Momma either forgot or didn’t realize at the time was that this group of Realtors, friends and co-workers had all admired and trusted her enough to make her their leader even before cancer was in the picture. And I failed to remind her of that fact.

Dad, Momma, me and hubby at the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors (GMAR) Realtor of the Year awards

Dad, Momma, me and hubby at the Greater McAllen Association of Realtors (GMAR) Realtor of the Year awards

She was Realtor of the year, Rotarian of the year, Woman of the year (and many others)… and in the back of her mind, I think she doubted whether she deserved all these incredible awards by merit or if they were given to her by cancer pity. And I think I did a terrible job of convincing her of her true worth and value to her community. I should have done more when I had the time to do so.

So now here we are in present day and I find myself in a similar situation and guilty of feeling undeserving of this honor.  See, I’ve never HAD cancer. I live a healthy life. I don’t suffer the effects of chemotherapy, radiation and surgical removals of organs and body parts. I don’t have to miss work or family time because I’m away at hospitals being poked and prodded for experimental treatments. I don’t have to schedule Real Estate open houses and viewing appointments around the times I know I’ll be vomiting. I just have to run or swim or ride a bike. That’s all. Why does that make me so special? I’m really the under achiever of the family.

I mean… I’m not even one of those amazing athletes that qualifies for Boston. Or Kona. Or… anything worth qualifying for.

They should have picked someone else for this award. And cancer should have taken me instead.

Yes, this is how I truly feel.

BUT… these last few years really have changed my outlook and I refuse to let myself mope around in my dramatic pity parties. Regardless of how I feel on the inside, these last few years and experiences have taught me that although honors AND criticisms are directed towards me, much of them have little to do with me. I was chosen for this because of the love I have for my mother, the admiration I have for her and all that she went through and all that she did when she could. I made a promise to raise awareness and funds for a disease that I am not stricken with and being noted for it. I made a promise to do my best to take care of the health that I was blessed with and not take it for granted and I don’t do it alone, I am led, pushed and followed by countless others….

So in essence, who is really being honored here is not me but my mother, my family, my friends, my community, my teammates, my supporters, donors, sponsors and especially the victims of cancer, their families and caregivers who know all too well what it is that my Mother saw and desperately wanted to remedy.  Little actually has to do with me and so much has to do with everyone else.

I bow down to you, the deserving – the ones who have loudly and silently confided, cried, comforted and competed with me. I bow down to you, the fighters, the lovers, the haters, the cheerleaders, the sick and the healthy… for YOU are the ones that I’ve always wanted never to endure what we did. It was her wish and it is my promise. And neither of us are quitters.

I will accept this honor on my mother’s behalf and bow to you… because we are all deserving to live in a world without cancer.

For more information about the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron’s Ball this year on September 19th at the Boggus Ford Event Center in Pharr, TX, would like to attend and/or sponsor it, please call the RGV ACS at (956) 682-8329. Once they update and finalize the website, I’ll post a link here.

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