9/20/12

Marathon Training Update: Gaining Perspective

unrelated photo of happiness :)
I've been raising funds to run in the 2012 ING New York City Marathon with Fred's Team.
All the money raised will go to breast cancer research.   
The goal: Raise $3,500 by race day on November 4th. 
Let's get there!
Thank you to everyone who has donated.   

It's been a while since I wrote an update about my marathon training. Read my first post to get caught up.  I'm already up to 16 miles on my long runs! The training has been really hard, but running for a charity has given me so much perspective.  Something I didn't always have . . .

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time at the beginning of my senior year in high school.  I remember having mix feelings of hope and mystery. Did they catch it early enough? Would she just have to take a few pills? Would she lose her hair this time? It had been 8 years since she last had cancer. What was going to happen to her this time? To our family? Everything is going to be fine, right?

At the time, I was the secretary of my senior class and started to slack off on my duties. The teacher in charge of the student government pulled me into her office shortly after Christmas break. I felt so guilty. I apologized for missing meetings and told her I was going to do better.

She stopped me and said, "Whoa, whoa. Don't worry about it. You're doing fine. Is everything ok with your mother? And those missed meetings, oh please. Just try your best."

I was shocked that she was being so understanding. She wasn't the warm and fuzzy type. And plus I thought I had things to do! The senior class voted for me to take notes during the meetings. To come up with ideas for Prom! The whole system wouldn't work without a secretary!

But it was the way she was looking at me. Waiting for me to say something.  I knew then my mother's illness was more serious than I thought. It's not that my advisor knew more about my mom's cancer than I did, but she had perspective. Something most people lack at 18 years-old. I know I did.

And so each month went by. My mother had chemo. She lost her hair. Her hospital stays started getting longer. I got special permission to visited her in the hospital on my lunch period. Sometimes I would crawl in her bed and snuggle up to her. I must have looked ridiculous, but I missed her too much to care. After a while she would whisper, "It kind-of hurts" and I would feel bad. Then I'd crawl out, tell her I love her, hug her (again! ouch) and drive back to school.

I had English, then art. It's amazing I even went back each day.  But, again, it's perspective. I didn't realize running for the hills was an option. No one would blame me if I did, really, but I kept doing everything as normal as possible. I went to Prom, went to Disney World for Grad Night, and finally graduated.

My mom wasn't able to watch me walk across the stage on graduation day. She was pretty sick by that point and the doctors didn't want her to leave the hospital. Seeing this old picture of me from that day still shocks me. A smile? Really? But I remember being happy. To be with friends and family. To finish high school. To move on.
with my friend Eric
After the official graduation ceremony at my school, my principal reenacted the ceremony at the hospital's church for my mother. It was the last time she would see me accomplish anything. She died a month later.

She never got to see me fly away to college. Hear my first love story with Rob. Watch me get married. Meet my kids and cheer me on through motherhood.  She was such a great cheerleader. The way she waved her arms in the air, wobbled her knees, and hollered is ingrained in my memory. She wasn't one to hold back her emotions, especially when she was happy for someone else.  I would have loved to see her cheering me on during this marathon. She cracked me up.

Which brings me back to perspective. These past few months of training, I've gained perspective on lots of things. For one, it's ok to run for the hills when life gets tough. Literally run for the hills. Either Harlem Hill or Cat Hill in Central Park will do. Sometimes both. It's done great things for me.

But more importantly, I've learned that no one should miss out on their kid's major milestones. Cancer took that away from my mother and so many other parents. We need a cure! I am so excited to help fund the research to find one. Please join me by donating here!

More about Fred's Team: 

100% of the funds raised by Fred's Team go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the nation's preeminent center for research and treatment devoted exclusively to cancer, and at least 80 percent of the total supports pioneering research. 

I specifically choose to raise money for breast cancer. 

When you make an online gift, you will receive an e-mail confirmation and tax acknowledgment as soon as your transaction is complete. For all offline gifts, you will receive a written tax acknowledgment in the mail. 

 More FAQ's here. Like who's this Fred guy?! 

photo credit: Britney Ericksen

27 comments:

  1. a brilliant post.

    it must , still, be very hard to be without your mum. i think i would be lost without mine.

    you are doing a great thing-glad the training is going well

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  2. this makes me so sad. my dad passed away 4 years ago after a long battle with cancer and i miss him every day.

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  3. I take care of twin 3-year-olds, one of which was diagnosed with bone cancer this past February. After this year, all I can say regarding your post is that I hope you never feel guilty for being happy while your mother was sick. Eve is absolutely transparent in her quest to bring joy into a terrible situation—-finding ways to make everyone laugh, even when she is stuck in a hospital bed receiving an emergency transfusion--so I can't think of a single reason why she would want the people she loves to miss out on any kind of happiness we can achieve.

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    1. oh wow. what a fabulous little girl!! love this comment. :)

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  4. My eyes are filled with tears right now. Thanks for reminding me that striving to keep the right perspective in life is what really matters. I need to try one of those hills sometime!

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  5. Beautiful post, I got all teary-eyed. Made me think about losing my father. And things. Like you said, perspective. Thanks for being such an open and honest blogger.

    http://nomadic-d.blogspot.com/

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  6. Beautiful post - thank you for sharing.

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  7. Such an inspiring post. Enjoyed reading it :)

    -Sarah {tuckerup.blogspot.com}

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing, very meaningful to read that. Congrats on this marathon goal!

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  9. Agree with all the other comments that this is beautiful. It left me in tears. You're going to do awesome in your marathon!

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  10. Beautiful post. I just cried at my desk reading it. It's easy to hate cancer and to resent all of the things that your mother hasn't been here for. It's much harder and more brave to fight so that others don't have to have the same experience. You run those hills for my 2 boys who will never know their grandmother (my mother), because she died of bladder cancer last year. Thank you for sharing your story and for helping so many others. Whether you know me or not, I will be there cheering for you - and all of Fred's team! - at the marathon!

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    1. thanks for the comment. i'll be thinking of your family on those hills!! thanks for cheering fred's team on!!

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  11. thank you for sharing this, very touching. and inspiring.

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  12. Sharon, I don't comment here very often, but this was really touching. My late grandmother had breast cancer and despite a mastectomy, she fought it and went strong for 30 more years. I know not everyone is so lucky. Thank you for what you are doing and thank you for this sweet tribute to your mother.

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    1. thanks for the comment :)

      30 years!! that's amazing!

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  13. This is such a touching story, and it made me tear up. One of my best childhood friends is battling breast cancer right now. If I hadn't already donated all my "spare" money to my friend's "Dry July" team, I would donate some to you, I'm sorry!

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    1. oh wow! i think it's great you supported your friend! she's lucky to have you. wishing her the best. :)

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  14. My dad died was 15 so I totally get what you mean! I am old but I still hold onto my memories and that is what gets me thru some of the times that I need him there!

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  15. this was so moving. thanks for sharing, and for the reminder on perspective.

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  16. Looking back I'm not sure how we got through it either. We did fireworks the next day, I got married 3 weeks later, there were happy pictures! Thinking about that time just makes my heart heavy and also wonder how we found bits of happiness in all that. I hate that my kids are going to miss me like this someday. I hope I'm 100 so they are old farts too! ;)

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  17. I was really touched by your very personal story. I'm so sorry for the loss of your mother. I'm sure you think of her often as you see your children grow up and wish she could see it too (although some might say she is).

    On a side note, you might want to be checked for genetic susceptibility yourself to breast cancer - BRCA1 or BRCA2. Knowledge is power so if you do carry an allele correlated with breast cancer onset, you can make some decisions.

    http://notsoseriousmidwestmom.blogspot.com/

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  18. Such a lovely post. It reminds me of my own mother's story of losing her own mom around the same age. Although I never met her, my grandmother has always been a part of my life and a guidepost for me. I was so touched to read this. Thank you for sharing it!

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  19. That was a really lovely post! You made me cry! I lost my mother when I was expecting my second son (now aged three). At least she did see many of my milestones (falling in love, getting married, having my first child). Thank you for this post, I am sure your mother is so so very proud of you watching you from heaven!

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  20. You filled with tears my eyes so bad! I just lost my mother to breast cancer after 10 years of fighting this april.
    Your post made me realize i'm not the only one who felt so sad for not being able to share those big milestones with her. When we found out it was the terminal phase I just couldn't stop thinking how she wouldn't be by my side on my wedding day, to know her grandchildren, etc etc.

    Thank you so much for sharing this very personal post!

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    1. Plus I'll be cheering in this NYC Marathon. If you ever see a big Mexican flag it's probably me cheering for you too!

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