“Whoever said winning isn’t everything never had to fight CANCER!” That is the back of mom’s t-shirt she has on in the picture to the right. In two days she will be having colon surgery for her cancer, but today we celebrated life. We celebrated her ability to persevere and endure. She has been a real trooper. Twenty-five rounds of chemotherapy and radiation and now surgery. One step at a time, continuing to do what she has always done and refusing to let it control her life.
We went this morning to run in a local race Run for One – World Missions 5k just as another reminder of how good God has been in this whole process. Mom took 1st place in her age group (60+) and inspired a few along the way. After the race many said..”Thank you for wearing that shirt! It helped push me and motivate me through the race.” Allowing mom to have the opportunity to share her story and God’s miracle in this whole process today at the race was amazing. Telling her story gives her the reminder and confidence she needs to know that God is in control. It reminds others that trusting in God allows the miracle to happen. It’s hard to trust the miracle when you are living in the midst of the storm and while mom has had days she has struggled, she maintains the spirit to push through and endure… just like she did today in the cross country race.
Unless you have lived this race yourself, you can never even imagine the fight… the struggle, mental and physical. I constantly remind myself that I have never walked in these shoes, but I can only hope should I ever have to I can have the trust and willpower to go the distance like mom.
Today I ran the race knowing that mom was close behind, pushing me harder to not give up when I was breathing hard and thinking I needed to stop. Trail running is hard for me! I did better than I had hoped for in a 5k. I have been training for a marathon slowing my pace and learning to run in negative splits. I have never been super fast and to run 26.2 miles again means I have to slow it down to endure for four and half hours, my goal. My 5k marathon split should be 30:53 to reach my goal of 4:29 marathon, today I did 29:01. That was pretty on target since my GPS ran out. I was guessing my pace based on my breathing. I was happy with it. If you run long enough and pay attention you can just about guess what your pace is based on how you are breathing. Today I was able to do that, but I will remember to charge my GARMIN next time! The end result was the pace was a little faster than I need to do by about a minute and the course was harder than the road, but I felt good the entire run:)
Once I was finished, I waited for mom knowing it wouldn’t be much longer before that lime green shirt would come in sight… she is a beast. Time passed and I became panicked a little thinking maybe she fell, trail has lots of opportunity to bite the dust. I knew she had her port in and I began to have a little anxiety wondering if I should go look for her. I glanced at the timer and could see five minutes had passed since I had finished. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that she was tough and God was in control. Watching someone go through the fight of their life is hard. You are helpless and all you can do is sit and really do nothing… kind of like today.
I am use to being in control. I am a principal. I make things happen. It is my job to do what others can’t. It is expected of me and I hold myself to meeting that standard… do whatever it takes for the kid. It doesn’t matter if it is hard or it’s never been done.. just make it happen. Nothing more important than a student’s future and I don’t take my responsibility lightly. But with mom, there is nothing I can do, but watch the fight, the struggle, trusting that I know she has overcome many things and this too will pass. Trusting that God decided a long time ago. But… in the moment the fear is real and life is not fair. I want to make it be over and make it happen for her , make it be easy… but I can’t so I wait and I watch like today in the race.
Sometimes…time seems like forever. Today nine minutes seemed like a life time as I waited for mom. Thousands of thoughts came in and out of my mind and I quickly pushed them away. I felt my breath release when I saw that lime green shirt coming around the tree line. I could breathe easy now. “Go Mo-ma, you are almost there!” I screamed as loud as I could. She pressed through and I could tell it was hard. She was pushing hard up hill to get to that finish line. I ran beside her watching her every step. Feeling a huge amount of relief when she stepped over that timing line. I watched as people surrounded her to tell her their success stories of cancer or to tell her that she was an inspiration today to them and I was grateful. Grateful for a day to be with my mom. Grateful for her courage. Grateful for her trust in God. Grateful that she is who she is and I wouldn’t have her any other way. Tough as nails!
Mom and I are like every other mom and daughter. We have good days and days where we drive each other crazy, but we love each other despite our differences and it’s unconditional. Today was a great day and now as I sit and hang out to have dinner with her, I know that mom is half way through her race. Surgery in two days is the second portion of her battle, but just like today, I know she will persevere and endure. She will cross the finish line. She will win the battle. She will be victorious. God has given her this miracle to overcome.