A couple months ago I ran a half marathon. I had so many emotions after completing this race. I had difficulty putting what I was feeling into words that would adequately express these emotions. I always hear of extremely inspirational stories of athletes who defy what we think is humanly possible. These stories touch many people's lives and many of these great athletes end up endorsed by big brands. I will never be that person that inspires many, but right after my race I felt like I had accomplished something great... something that so many others had accomplished too but had always seemed impossible for me. My thoughts and feelings poured out of me and formed themselves into a letter to Nike:
I am a regular ol' mom. I love my kids like crazy. I constantly make mistakes as I guide them through life. I beat myself down for these mistakes. I wish I was better.
This past January I couldn't even run a complete mile. I had survived almost 5 years of intense physical, mental and emotional strain that my unique situation of motherhood brought me.
Our difficulties as a family reached a height in 2013. I experienced despair in a way that I never could comprehend existed. In 2009 our first child was born with a condition called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. This condition causes tumors to grown on all his vital body organs (e.g. brain, heart, kidneys) and wreak havoc on their functions.
For the first half of 2013, our son endured constant seizures despite years of attempting to help his epilepsy. I would consistently count 30 seizures in an hour which would be over 500 seizures a day. After a lot of grueling work, we were able to head across the country for him to get a very invasive brain surgery. His behavior is challenging, to say the least. We've endured countless sleepless nights and have lived, at times, in constant fear for his life.
During this time, all the difficulties surrounding our son came to a head. In addition, I was dealing with multiple deep wounds that I had lived with for years. I fell into such a deep depression, it stole my ability to function. I had difficulty walking, talking and even breathing. I was obsessed with wishing for a meteor to hit our home and wipe us all out. I saw no possibility for improvement.
I did seek help...A LOT of it. I had intense therapy. I was put on an anti-depressant, sleep medication, and medications for migraines, anxiety and panic attacks. I was helped by multiple medical doctors for my many physical ailments. I accepted help from an amazingly supportive family and network of friends (something that was difficult for me to do). I am grateful for all this work because it got me to survive to January 2014...the month I started to work out again.
Last year I bought a pair of these babies:
They are the most expensive shoes I've ever purchased. They cost $79.99. This was an impossible amount for my brain to process spending, especially given the constant financial burdens our son's condition causes, but I took the plunge and did it. With my sister's encouragement, I signed up for a half marathon...something I swore I'd never do. I used to swim competitively and I always told people that it was because I hated running so much. I'm happy to report that I went from being unable to run 1 mile to completing my first half marathon in just a few months. I even ran 30 seconds/mile faster than I ever thought possible for me.
As I exercised, my need for therapy and medicines have decreased. I recognize I will probably always need therapeutic tune-ups and be on some medication for the rest of my life. I am grateful for these things because they brought me to the point that I could start working out again. I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I wonder what other stories are running in your shoes. Thanks for being a part of my journey to better health.