When You Get to the End of Your Rope, Tie a Knot and Hang On.
This quote is attributed to Abe Lincoln, but who knows if that's who really said it. A lot of things are attributed to the wrong person out here on the internets. I know, because I've been the subject of a few such misattributions. (Is that a word?)
The reason you haven't heard much from me in the past few months is that I have spent all my energy tying a knot in my rope and holding the f*&k on. I honestly have not even been training a lot. Which is shocking, because I just scored a 5k PR, another completed 5k, and a another "accidental" century - got dumped by the group and spent the latter half mostly in my aerobars, alone - good practice, right?
My love affair with 2012 was no secret.
Now, 2013, on the other hand . . . I just had a feeling that 2013 would not be the year of PR's and joyous achievements that 2012 was. No, I was going to need a lot more luck to get me through Lucky 13.
But then, I've always said I'd rather be lucky than good.
My mom, as you may know, is a diabetic (it's why I am pre-diabetic; damn genetics). She has been on Metformin, a common diabetes medication, for years. Many doctors and patients know that Metformin can cause an upset stomach or indigestion. So my mom didn't realize that her indigestion had grown extremely severe. In fact, she didn't have indigestion at all - she had a gallstone and what was called a "bleeding ulcer" in the old days. I went to visit her when she got out of the hospital.
That same week, I went for my quarterly checkups feeling exhausted and they found a mass in my lymph nodes. The endo told me it was probably just leftover thyroid tissue, but he ordered another test, and I moved on.
I had just enough time to catch my breath, and we found out that mom's ulcer was cause by the bacteria that causes stomach cancer. This is such an aggressive and difficult disease to treat, and my parents are the most important people in my lives. I felt like my entire life was crashing down around my ears.
I had just enough time to catch my breath, and we found out that there was a spot on my mom's lung and she would need a lung biopsy.
I had just about caught my breath again, when I found out that my dad has coronary, peripheral AND carotid artery diseases. Tests revealed severe artery blockages and the evidence of a recent heart attack, and by the time I'd caught ANOTHER breath and booked a plane flight back, he'd had a second heart attack.
At this point I wasn't even ready to breathe. Work has been hectic and I have taken on some additional responsibilities. I am in the middle of a large and very confusing project with my classmates. And I was about to start midterm exams when all this hit. Mom's biopsy looked good, so getting an earlier flight back home on the way back seemed like an omen of better things to come.
And then I got a call from my vet's office that my oldest cat has a type of tumor called a mast cell tumor, which is a form of feline and canine cancer (his royal fatness, above).
I spent several months just trying to re-establish my routine, and then, when that started to happen, I came down with a two-week cold which halted training and I got the results from my CT scan back. The news was not very good. Both the ultrasound and the CT showed evidence of more lymph node metastasis and a likely surgery, maybe even surgery plus more radioiodine, in my near future - at the very least, a painful biopsy.
I was at the end of my rope.
Mental list went something like:
Curl up in a ball and cryMaybe for a day or two. Throw thingsI like my stuff too much and don't want to be in jail for throwing someone else's. Drink heavilyToo hard to keep working and do this, and I hate the way it feels. Drop out of classThis too shall pass, and I'll be pissed I didn't finish a semester when it does. Spend a lot of moneyHa, ha, ha - and afford my medical care HOW? Give upAre you shitting me? After all these years of hard work to start getting back on my feet again?
So, I did the only thing I knew how to do . . . I tied a knot and hung on.
And here you find me.
Still employed and earning A's.
Not drunk - or hungover.
Certainly not curled up in a ball.
No stuff has been broken - mine or anyone else's.
I haven't gone to jail, spent too much money, or been anywhere close.
Life moved on - because I told it to.
And, despite all the overwhelmingness going on around me, I committed not only to my guaranteed entry for the New York Marathon this year, but also to fundraising again for the American Cancer Society. Because the fundraising funds the research, and the research funds the treatments, and just about everyone from mom to me to my kitty needs that right now. (follow me here http://main.acsevents.org/goto/maj)
Yes, I will keep training through surgery.
Yes, I will keep training if I have to have more radiation.
Yes, I will keep training while I travel to my parents' (I have been doing this already).
Because THAT ^ is what happened when I got through all this the first time.
So, this may not be a PR year.
This may just be an "I finished" year.
An "I was lucky not to lose anything year."
And I'll take it.
After all, I'd rather be lucky than good.