Friday, April 17, 2009

How can it be? And yes, there is a point to the story.

It seems unbelievable to me that 13 years ago I was given the privilege to become a mother. I had been married for 7 years and didn't think we were going to be parents. And wouldn't you know it, right about the time you make alternate plans, whoop there it is! After you've not conceived on your own after years of free love you begin to believe you will be "a dog person" who leisurely reads the paper all day on Sunday.
By the time I went to the doctor because I wasn't feeling quite right, I was 13 weeks pregnant. Now couple that with a 6 week premature baby and it makes for a pretty short gestation. I love babies! I always babysat any opportunity I could so handling a newborn was nothing new to me.
Except.... this was MY baby. A teeny-tiny little 4 lb. 12 oz fluff. I didn't get to see her for the first 2 days of her life. She was in the NICU and I had blood pressure from hell. I had toxemia and was on an i.v. drip of magnesium sulfate which made me very dizzy,unsteady and groggy. Looking back on video I was a blubbering, nonsensical idiot from that stuff.
We got to bring Audrey home on April 19th. Ron and I were exhausted but thrilled. I hadn't made any hard fast plans about whether or not I would breastfeed. But it became a challenge. It WAS a challenge. First of all, my breasts had enlarged to the size of a small Hempstead watermelon. Easily they were 4 times the size of this newborn baby's head. She was so petite and tired out easily. So I pumped every 2 hours and we would feed her with a syringe that had a curved tip. It took forever!! And about the time it was all cleaned up it was time to do it all over again. Exhaustion was overwhelming. I didn't think I cared whether I feed my baby with formula or breast milk until we couldn't do it.In the middle of our 3rd night home I lost my mind over not being able to feed this baby. I mean what's the value of having huge breasts if you can't even nourish your kid! My mom called the lactation consultant from whom we had rented the pump. I felt like a failure until this kind angel, Sandy Lemke, of Woman's Work in Houston came to my home the next day. She was so gentle,patient and encouraging. Now here's the point to this story. I weighed 2 lbs. 15 oz when I was born in 1967. Miraculously, I had no birth defects or ill effects from being 3 months premature. I was the mother of a precious premature baby who miraculously had no health complications. We were tough. We were fighters. I worked and practiced and learned to feed my child with the parts God gave me and we were finally successful. That same tenacity has served my daughter Audrey and myself well. We are similar girls. We are determined, stubborn, relentless and pertinacious. Maybe that's why we push ourselves to meet challenges head on. Maybe that's why we can do anything we put our minds to (Sometimes it takes me a while to decide what I want to do before I go for it). Maybe that's why we both want to be right.Maybe that's why we want to win. Maybe that's why we try it our own way before asking for help. How can it be that 2 people can be so similar? Maybe that's why God gave us to each other to encourage and push each other. And that is the point of the story.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

One good run doesn't make a great race.

That's what one of my friends told me after I gave an evasive answer to a question.
I had joined up with my triathlon training group for a training day for the first time in quite a while. Would they welcome me back? I wasn't sure. I hadn't been training regularly and consistently. Could I keep up? Surprisingly enough I had what I thought was a "good run". Now a good run is like art, it is subjective. What is a good run to me may be considered a waste of time for you. On this particular day it was good because I was able to : run without pain, maintain the pace of my running partner (and talk at the same time) and finish feeling like I had done something good for myself.
So later at lunch, I was asked if I was racing the next weekend or not.I had already registered for the race but had no internal motivation. My reply was, "That is the million dollar question. Maybe I will since I had a good run this morning." What I meant was, I guess I could complete the triathlon. My aerobic ability hadn't deteriorated as much as I had thought.
Fast forward 3 days..... I am scheduled for a mammogram. I go to the appointment with some anxiety because I had discovered SOMETHING that my doctor wanted to have checked out. Three hours later, that star shaped SOMETHING had the radiologist concerned enough to order my previous films for comparison. The following day I am filled with fear and worry. I pray. I ask my friends to pray. I pray and wait and pray some more. Thursday I get the call that I need an MRI it looks like lobular carcinoma. That was the last thing I remember hearing. The rest of it was like the Charlie Brown teacher. WAH Wah WAH WAh wah wahwah
Call the doctor Friday morning to schedule MRI, can't get in for a week. HUH? Doctor calls back, be here Monday morning.
Great! I get to go the entire weekend. Paralyzed with fear. The uncertainty is a killer for a control freak type personality. Is God using this situation to bring me to Him? Don't I get it? He's in control NOT ME!
As my friends and my family pray for this to be only a false test or something normal there is evidence of God everywhere I turn. In phone calls from people letting me know they're thinking of me (how can this be happening, I've only told a few people my dilemna). While at the bike shop, I run into breast cancer survivors I haven't seen in over a year. I have lunch with new friends that surely God has placed in front of me. All the while I am scared. My husband is scared. My children are petrified their mother is going to die.
We go out of town as planned. My daughter is to race on Saturday. I will race on Sunday. My girl is a fierce competitor that usually wins or at the very least places. I asked her just one thing for me. Please race for fun this weekend. Let's race because we CAN. For the moment, we are able, we are strong and God has given us this body. Let's race as a sign of appreciation for all we have. All we have is NOW. Not tomorrow or next week or next year. NOW. She has the best race I've ever seen her have. I somehow win in my age group, completely surprised.
My coach is also someone I consider a friend. Her thoughtful ways and kind thoughts mean more to me than her athletic knowledge and guidance. Another gift from God. She reminded to embrace my race. I embraced the day. So thankful.
I got my MRI done and still had no peace. I am thrilled to say after seeing a surgeon today for a second opinion I am well. I am healthy. I don't have cancer. I don't have a fear that sucks the breath out of my lungs. I don't have a knot in my stomach. I don't have an attitude that says, whatever, there's always tomorrow.
Nope, what there is is NOW. Today and I am thankful for it.
So yes, maybe one good run makes a great race.