Sunday, January 20, 2008

My Story (long post)

I started this post talking about waking up on the morning of the LaMarque Run, but it's turned into my story. I wasn't planning on being this personal but since I was bitten by the dog I've found myself reflecting so much. I've met some wonderful people since I started running and many have asked what got me started. I usually just say I went to the gym and met Jim the wellness coach and blurted out my desire to do a marathon. I've only told 2 people part of the story I'm telling here. It's not a big deal really, but it's a big deal to me.

When I woke up on Saturday morning at 5:30 for this race, I almost went back to sleep. I worked until 12:30am Friday night, didn't even get to sleep until about an hour after that. My leg was throbbing and I wasn't even out of bed. I lay there thinking about all the people I've talked to over the months. The injuries they've had and races and goals they'd missed. Having to learn which pains to treat with rest, which were part of conditioning. My doctor told me that, yes, this bite will be painful, but I would not hurt it worse by running. I'm going to jump back 2 years and give out a little info on how I got to where I am now.

I had ignored some pains a couple years ago, not realizing I had two serious problems going on. I had been having lower abdominal pain off and on since my son was born, about 9 years ago. It usually ached all the time, sometimes it hurt a lot and other times I'd be on the couch all day. Most of the time I'd ignore it and take some Tylenol. I never mentioned this to my doctor, don't ask me why. By the time I moved to Florida, it was getting worse. Sharper pains lasting longer. I still ignored it for 2 years. My husband told me to go see the doctor, I put it off. Finally I stopped telling him when it hurt. I was busy, I had "stuff" to do. Around the end of August 2005, I was getting headaches. They didn't feel like migraines so I started taking Excederine, twice a day. I was not feeling well at all. I wasn't eating either. I didn't have an appetite so I didn't notice this either. I had a few bites of food here and there, nothing substantial. Within 2 weeks I was only getting dressed on the days I had to work, otherwise I was in jammies on the couch. I was in constant pain by that point. One day, late in Sept I was having a great day, feeling a lot better and decided to walk over to get the kids from school. It's just 2 streets over. I got dressed and off I went. Half way there I realized I had to hold my pants up. They were falling off! I knew I weighed about 148 back in August, this was weird but I felt kinda good about it. When I got home I hopped on the scale. I weighed around 125. I was THRILLED! But'd THAT happen??? My husband told me to go to the doctor. I shrugged it off and went on with my life. But by the end of Sept it got even worse. I could barely stand straight. My throat hurt, stomach hurt, my head was pounding. I went to the doctor. I love my doctor. He's very gentle, he has a relaxed personality that just puts people at ease. He's kinda cute too...LOL!!!! Anyway....I told him what I just wrote here. He looked in my throat, it was very red, he touched my stomach and I almost hit the ceiling. It hurt so bad. There was not a spot on my abdomen that he could touch without hurting me. I was also down to about 118 by then. The doc told me to stop the Excederine, he gave me some Nexium saying it probably damaged my digestive system. He also sent me for bloodwork. Something came back questionable and he called me with an appointment to see 2 specialists. My doctor told me the bloodwork showed something abnormal and he wanted an upper and lower GI series (OH YAY).The other doctor I'd be seeing was an oncologist. I know exactly what an oncologist is. I lost one of my Grandmothers to cancer in 1993. She had breast cancer twice, 20 years apart and we lost her to lung cancer. Still makes me cry, I miss her so much. My other Grandmother had uterine cancer 11 years ago. She had a hysterectomy and I'm very, very lucky to still have her today. She is cancer free!

I listened to my doctor on the phone, he said not to worry, the doctor I was seeing was the best and would take care of everything. I pretty much was silent (which does not happen often) and the next day I saw this new doctor. When he came in, I just cried quietly. I was so scared. He calmed me and said he wanted to check my abdomen. He pressed and it still hurt everywhere. He said my pancreas was enlarged, my uterus was enlarged and with the blood work he got from my doctor, he wanted me to see a gyno and he took more bloodwork. 2 days later, I was having an ultrasound at the gyno. My uterus was as big as a 4-5 month pregnancy. There were masses in there. He told me he wanted to do a hysterectomy the next day. I would keep my ovaries though. I freaked. I said no. I wanted to talk to my doctor first. I made the appointment for the surgery a week away and went home to call my doctor. My doctor told me if I were his wife or Mother, he would want me to have the hysterectomy. Ok then. I trust my doctor.

During all this I saw a GI doc. He explained the Excederine was aspirin based and I had taken too much. It didn't help that I took it on an empty stomach too. The GI series was scheduled the day before the hysterectomy.

So the results of both procedures pretty much came back all at once. NO CANCER! And the bloodwork even came back all normal. Turns out I had poisoned my pancreas from too much Excederine, burned my entire GI tract along with it and I had Adometriosis, which is another form of Endometriosis. By now I weighed 101 lbs. I had to start eating with small amounts 4-6 times a day. Eventually I could eat normally again and now I've gained about 25 lbs back. My stomach still hurts now and then. I have had a couple days that kept me from running but nothing too bad. I'm an expert at ignoring most The bulk of the recovery process from the surgery and the stomach/pancreatitis took a good 4 months. By the end of January, I was a whole new woman. I look back sometimes and I can't believe I lived with so much pain for so long. I see how lucky I was that it wasn't cancer.

Now for the part that lead me to running...

I heard somehow, somewhere, that Disney was doing a marathon for cancer. I had 3 reasons why I wanted to be a part of that marathon. I lost one Grandmother, I have another Grandmother who was a survivor and for myself because I got a scare and was lucky enough not to have had cancer. I told my husband about the marathon, I didn't give the reasons, just said I wanted to run a marathon in September, this was April. He laughed. The dirty rat!!!! LOL I told my daughter Kerri. She laughed. Hmmmmm....I told my other daughter Kirstin. She was rolling on the floor laughing. I was not amused, however.

KIM: I don't see what's so funny guys.

BOBBY: You don't even walk to the mailbox Kimmy (he calls me Kimmy when he's trying to tell me something I won't like but still be affectionate)

KIM: Yes I do. It's at the end of the driveway. (but I thought about how I really pull up to the mailbox when I come home, instead of parking the car and walking down the driveway)

KERRI: Mom, you used to drive to Karen's house when we lived in Plymouth.

KIM: Yeah, well Emily was an infant and I had a lot of stuff to carry.

KIRSTIN: Mom, she lived across the street, and she had a daycare. You only had Emily and a diaper bag.

KIM: Yeah, whatever....(but I knew they were right)

Ok, so it's been determined that I'm not the most active person in the family. Or in Florida. But I'll admit their reaction, though justified, made me give it up. Meanwhile, Bobby kept mentioning that I should join the YMCA. He'd been working out for a while (and was looking HOT may I add) Finally one day last October on his day off he took me to the YMCA to find out about joining. I met Lynn and Kelly at the desk, they talked to me about the classes offered and the weight room. They told me after I signed up, the wellness coach would show me the equipment and tell me how to use it all, etc. I came back the next day by myself and signed up. I walked into the gym and met Jim, who did explain everything to me and that's was when he asked me if I had any goals.....the whole time I was telling him I wanted to get in shape and have more energy, the marathon was on the tip of my tongue. I thought to myself, "this man does not know me, I wonder if HE would laugh if I said I wanted to run a marathon?" I took a deep breath and kind of blurted it out. He did not laugh. In fact, he said I had time to train for the Grouper Run in March! He had no idea what he had given me. That one little spark of confidence resurfaced in that instant. He told me the runner's club meets on Friday mornings at 10:15 and invited me to run. I thought I'd better tell him I don't really exercise much. Or at all. Ever. He didn't even hear that. He said if I really wanted to do it, I could. By the time I got home, the spark was a bonfire. I was on a mission. I was going to run a marathon. Jim said I could, and I believed him. Most of the time.

I have had many, many days where my self confidence took a plane to California. Any negative comments would set me back. When I was feeling that way, I'd mention it to Jim and he'd immediately remind me I had the power to do anything. His favorite saying is "You are your own captain". That works for me, I love being the boss!!! So now when I'm feeling like I can't do it, or I don't feel like doing it, I tell myself the captain never abandons the ship. The captain takes responsibility for the ship in smooth sailing AND during a storm. Just like me. My body is my ship and I'm taking it to Sarasota in March to run in that marathon.


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