Sunday, September 21, 2014

If You Can't Beat Em, Join Em

Susan, Me and Sue - Pre Race
I am a person who likes to have plans. I typically choose an event and beg Sue to join me. This time? Sue chose an event, mentioned it and I said OK. I also dragged another friend into this race.

This weekend was all about OSU. Now, I went to the University of Colorado at Boulder. I wouldn't say that I was a huge football fan, actually my friend and I were talking about the fact that I was more annoyed by football because the traffic made getting to the mountains difficult... But I am a loyal lover of the Buffs, from affiliation alone. So when Sue asked me if I would do this race with her, my natural answer was yes, but that was more because she wanted to do the race, and less because I got to cross the finish line on the fifty yard line.

So, yesterday, Sue and I were heading out to get our packets, and I expressed to her, that I wanted to be like the Amish this weekend. What does that mean? I just wanted to fit in with the crowd (the Amish do NOT like to stand out among their peers), and not wear a Michigan shirt like I initially planned. We went to pick up our packets and were faced with poorly sized, long sleeve OSU shirts. I planned to wear that shirt for the race but knew it was going to be HOT today and I had no interest in being hot while running this race because of a silly shirt. This is when our plans changed, and we went on the hunt for OSU gear. We had these great plans of finding cheap shirts. I mean, there has to be a place in Columbus where we could find something cheap, right? Oh, so wrong!!! But we did find ourselves the gear to make it official. I joined em!!!

So, at 8:15 or so this morning, Susan and Sue showed up at my house to take on the OSU world. We ate some breakfast cookies, and headed out for our race!!!

We went to the race with the plans of running together, my favorite way to run a race! We watched the fabulous M3S team and the OSU football players rev up the crowd. We then lined up to run this fabulous course. Three miles in I turned into negative Nelly for a moment, but we kept at it, and the finish line was quick to appear after that point. I am always extremely awed by the enormity of a football field, and today was no exception. Whether you are a football fan, or not, you have to admit, there is something incredible about that field! I had such a great time chatting with Susan and Sue as we weaved through the campus of OSU!!! Oh, and we were also very fortunate enough to run into the lovely Nita, the awesome Jimmy and the fabulous Laurie!!!
At mile 2ish, snapped by Jimmy!!!

Shortly after crossing the finish line Susan went missing, I collapsed, and Sue rescued my cane and managed to get it back into fort Knox for me. The race performance was nothing to get excited about, but the event was. I have never been happier to show up for something that was important to my friend. I always treasure the memories that are created during a race.

I guess you can say the OSU allure, pulled me in... And so I joined em...

We Finished!!!


Monday, September 15, 2014

The Fear of Loss

I have been told that I don't know how to live in the moment because I am always making plans for the next moment. I like to argue that I am good at living in the moment, except when I am planning for what comes next. What is the difference? I don't know... Do you live with your cup half empty or half full? Same thing, right?

Well, I'm learning that I am somewhat wrong. I still stand by the fact that I live in the moment, afterall, I will stop to appreciate the snowfall, stars in the sky, the most recent household accomplishment, but that is between planning away my life.

When you have MS, there is this underlying knowledge that you may someday be disabled, thus a fear may develop. Is it rational? Some may argue that it isn't rational, afterall, I can walk out the door on any given morning and get struck by a bus, or fall and break my back, thus resulting in the exact same affliction of MS, potential paralysis. The difference between these circumstances is that when you have MS, you have a ton of time to ponder the life of being disabled, or the loss of memory, or the loss of some other bodily function. When you have a tragic event that happens in an instant, you don't even know it is coming and then are faced with coping after the tragic experience.

Wow, just stating that makes me realize that knowing you have MS, and living with it daily, really is simply a gift. It provides the opportunity to cope with some of the emotions, prior to the potential event. Again, glass half full, here!

And I digress. The reality is, it is extremely hard to live in this moment, when you know there is a potential of loss. Take that relationship you may have experience, that you really want to be secure in, but you aren't, so you are always afraid it is going to go away. Have you experienced that phenomenon? I certainly have, but have come to realize that the people I keep around now, are trustworthy, otherwise they wouldn't be around. But if you have experienced that, you may have found yourself constantly internalizing what you might do if you lost that person. Again, MS is exactly the same. Pondering the what ifs, rather than appreciating the right nows.

The fear of loss is a profound obstacle to deal with. I don't know whether I have to deal with the fear of loss because I have lost something significant in my life? Or simply because I love what I have in the present and I can't fathom my life changing?

I need to give MS, technology and medicine a change!!! Because regardless of all that I say in this post, I do know the moment you quit fearing loss, whether it is the loss of a person, thing, ability, skill, you open yourself up to the possibility of appreciating the moment that is right in front of you. This is something I struggle with daily BUT I will never never give up!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Please Hold

I'm missing Pedal 2 the Point... What a brilliant weekend that I got to experience with all of the people I love.

I most recently had a run which I didn't drag my leg at all, until after the run! Thank goodness for the cooler weather.

I have so much to share, but need a break this week.

Please hold until I come back next week...




Monday, September 8, 2014

Keep Trecking

Ever hear the quote, "A body in motion, stays in motion?" I live by that these days. My friend Sue and I were running on Sunday, while we were running, we were having a conversation about my gait, and how it changes step by step through a run. My first step may be strong with both legs fully engaged, and my final step, my left leg can be fully disengaged and dragging behind me. I have come to accept that my body is the perfect specimen for Newton's Law of Motion.

One of the things I am learning from reading various threads in on-line MS support groups is that people who have stayed active over the years after being diagnosed with MS, are still active. Their activities may have changed, and in some cases change day to day, but ultimately, they are able to maintain some semblance of activity. I am now convinced that I need to keep this body of mine in motion.

Here is where Newton's Law really comes into play for me. Although Newton's law states that an object will remain in motion at a constant velocity, it also states that an external force can change that motion. MS is that external force that impacts my motion. Yes, I realize that my Myelin (or lack there of) is physically internal, but it is not something that I have control of.   In my conversation with my friend on Sunday, I told her that rather than stop running, because of the physical challenges I experience from MS, I need to continue running so that my left side doesn't atrophy, and figure out a way to strengthen my body to accommodate the loss of movement. Will that be physical therapy? planks? using my arms more? I honestly don't know. But it is all a learning process.

Pre MS, I considered myself an athlete. Everyone gets to define the term athlete, and according to my definition I qualified. As anyone with a chronic disease knows, after your diagnosis you are faced with redefining yourself, right or wrong. The honest truth is that, after diagnosis you truly are the same person, right? I think I am, but accepting that is a struggle for any human being, I think...

While I have my own little internal struggle over the new trajectory of my life, I can tell you that the best thing I can do for myself, is keep doing. I read so often that people with MS simply give up. I will admit, my house cleaning and laundry skills have taken a hit over the last year, and I am 100% content blaming it on MS, but the reality is, if I keep doing what I love, I will be able to better adapt what I love to conform to my life's daily changes. MS has also taught me a lot about who I love, what I love and what I love doing... More about that another day!

So, tonight I will do a pile of laundry and maybe do my dishes, because it needs to be done. However,  I will hang some doors at my friends house this weekend, because I love household projects!!!

Basically what I am getting at is that we all have control over our movement forward in life, and I'm not only talking about our physical movement. Sure we may have physical barriers, but that is when we adapt, learn the new process and move on. In the words of my FAVORITE sister in law... I simply will 'Keep Trecking'.

One of my favorite pictures of me and my sister-in-law!



Sunday, September 7, 2014

This Random Life

I'm lost for fodder this week. So I'm going to go with a random post. Random events from a random week? That sounds like fun, right?

Piper

I have this little friend named Piper/Pipes/Piper bug/Piper Diaper, and she is my cat. I love my cat!!! Piper keeps life interesting. Between her interest in taking showers and playing fetch with paper or socks or hats or bras, she has picked up a new hobby this week. Want to know what this hobby is? She drags clothes around my house.

Yesterday, I went to celebrate a friend's wedding. Before that, I was out riding with my friend Sue. To say my Piper Bug was a little neglected for the day would be an understatement. Anyway, I got home from the day and clothes were strewn all over my living room. At first I thought my house was ransacked and someone had stolen all of my worldly possessions, but my computer was sitting right on my chair, and so were my running shoes, so I knew it wasn't that. I then walked down to my basement and there was a dress laying on the stairs. Then Piper started pulling a shirt around the basement, and it hit me!!! Her new hobby is dragging clothes around my house. If only she would pull my clothes into my bedroom, fold them and put them away!

Speed

Sue and I have been cycling even though the big ride is over. I love cycling with her because we have this rhythm that is unparalleled. We ride next to eachother most of the time, but we also take our times to ride solo, several hundred feet away from eachother. It is awesome to have a friend to ride with, who really understands you.

So this week we have ridden twice. On Wednesday night we were betting on our speed. I kept saying that we weren't riding all that fast. Sue predicted 14 miles per hour, I predicted 13 miles per hour. We kept clipping along in this rhythm. At the end of the ride, I pulled my phone out of my bra, and there we learned we had ridden 14.7 mph.

Yesterday, we went out for our ride, and immediately started wining about how difficult the ride was, but we stuck with it. We ended up riding 24 miles. Again, at the end of the ride, I pulled my phone out of my bra and that is when Strava informed us that we were riding 14.7 mph again. No wonder it was difficult!!! Now, I realize that really isn't that fast to some folks, but it is a huge improvement for us. I have to admit that I am proud of our efforts!!!

Slow

It was hot this week, until yesterday. Not only was it hot, but it was humid!!! As no surprise to me, running has been a struggle. I like to say that I am heat sensitive, it just makes me feel better. On the total opposite end of the spectrum, our running speed this week has suffered, or has it? I think it has. I went out for a run on Tuesday with my friend Jen, and we were slowish. On Thursday, it was killer outside but Sue and I hit the trail anyways. Today we were thankful for a little relief. My watch was dead, I turned on Strava and stuck it in my bra (see a trend here?) and took off without having any consciousness about our speed. I felt like we were cruising!!! Finish the run, pull the phone out and learn we were running a 13:19.

Here is what I have to say about the speed demon (and I don't mean the fast one)... Who cares!!! Sue and I got out there and ran! That is AWESOME!!!

And there you have it, a few random thoughts from this random week!!!

Oh, and today I got home to yarn unraveled and strewn about my house. I love you Piper!!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Lessons from the Kids


The Tree House!
I spent the week at my sister's house, and pre-dinner they either say a prayer, say itadakimasu or do gratefuls. I particularly enjoyed the gratefuls because I got to hear about the things that really interest my niece and nephews, it also gave me the opportunity to let them know how much I enjoyed my time with them.

It was an interesting week because two of the kiddos learned that I have Multiple Sclerosis, and the other one learned that I take a shot every day. My oldest nephew asked a couple of questions, but didn't really show much interest, and my other nephew asked a bunch of questions and then moved on with the activity for the day. My niece was really only interested because she saw the pile of pills and the shot I take every day laying around the house, without any regard, on my part, to hide it. You see, they are all old enough to know they shouldn't touch pills, and so I could leave them around and talk about them from time to time.

So why is this all significant? Well, my biggest fear in sharing that I have MS with people, is that they will see me differently, see me as disabled or something. I'm lucky right now and have no major physical issues (except after exercise) and so it is frustrating when others put limits on my abilities, rather than me putting limits on myself, based on how I know my body. The beauty of these kids? Well, they are all very smart and may have done their own research by now, on what MS really is, but none of them really cared or blinked an eye at all. As a matter of fact, they instead 'ordered' me into the tree-house which is at least 8 feet off the ground on one side, and then put me on another ladder once in the tree house (another 4 feet at least) to install the roof.

These kiddos taught me a lot! Truly not hard to believe, because they are three of the five most brilliant kids I know, but they reminded me that I should not put limitations on myself unless there is a real barrier. Two inspirations for me are the dudes who wrote Run the Edge, and they say, why put off tomorrow, what you can do today? Anyway, for those of you who happened upon this page because of MS, you may not know I am an athlete, and this summer I have struggled a bit. I haven't struggled getting in the miles on the bike, but miles on my feet? A whole different story. But by reflecting on the kiddos not caring, I had to take myself back about 10 steps and take some limitations off of myself. I have been planning to run another half marathon next spring but was going to hold off on registration but today I said forget that, and took the plunge and registered.

Basically, what I am getting at here is this: We set our limitations. I do believe there are real instances in which we have to say the dreaded word can't for VERY real reasons, but until that happens, we all need to move forward.

Looking forward to another one of these pics soon!!!

Up Next: Keep Trekkin (inspired by my sister-in-law, but that is for next week)