A year ago, I would have never imagined how much my life would change in only one year.
The year started out great with a work conference in Las Vegas followed by a fun trip to the Grand Canyon. During this trip, my mom was home sick. She called me to tell me she was jaundice and was going to have some tests done. After 3 months of test, 2 hospital admissions, countless hours spent worrying, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. To some extent, the diagnosis was kind of a relief to at least know what was going on. She had 4 months of chemotherapy, a major surgery in July, then another 4 months of chemotherapy. She finished all of her treatments just before Thanksgiving and she is slow regaining her strength. This experience made me less worried about the little things I can’t control and thankful for my wonderful family. We have all done a better job this year of making time to spend with one another and not getting wrapped-up in our busy lives. I am amazed by my mom’s strength and grace as she has faced a difficult year of continued uncertainties. This experience has also brought out the best in all of us as we have tried to make sense of this. My dad has really been amazingly supportive and helpful. I have gotten to know a new side of my dad. My sister, brother-in-law, and my sweet niece and nephew and extended family and friends have been a huge support in this journey.
After 7 year of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and vomiting everyday, I am so happy to be eating real food! Things are not perfect, but I am so thankful for the strides I have gained and the ability to eat without vomiting. My surgery in April left me able to eat, but my g-tube continued to drain several liters of fluid per day making it impossible to stay hydrated without IV hydration. As much as I loved the fashion trend of a fanny pack and wearing dresses to hide my drainage bag and belt, this was no way to live. In September I had the remainder of my stomach removed. This was followed by 5 weeks without eating and swapping the pesky g-tube for a fun new friend, a JP drain. By mid-October I celebrated another birthday, was back to work full-time, and eating real food! This month I said goodbye to having Hickman catheter hanging from my side and opted for a small port under my skin to use weekly for fluids when things aren’t going well.
Running has been a big part of my life, and this year is no exception! I was a part of 3 winning relay teams (Ragnar TN, 8 Hour Dream Endurance Race, and The Huff 50K) thanks to my fast friends! I set a 5K PR of 26:17, a Half Marathon PR of 2:01:56, and logged over 1,500 miles! I have made many new friends and reconnected with some old friends too! Running makes me feel so alive and now that I can fuel with food I am running faster than ever!
There are many new professional possibilities brewing and I know there will be some exciting new adventures in 2019. I plan to be open to new things and challenge myself everyday!
As I was running tonight, I was thinking about how lucky I am to have so many friends! I have my Gutsy Gals with Good for nothing Guts! These ladies remind me daily to keep pushing hard and not let your body dictate your life. Jana and I often talk about staying on the train of life and not getting off because it is so hard to get back on. Swapna, Lauren, Lynda, and Kat always have words of wisdom and fun stories to brighten my day. My Oiselle Running Friends in Indiana and across the country, inspire me to push myself to new limits. All but one of my Ragnar teammates (Becca, Kaylee, Jordan, Rachel, and Jessa) were strangers last year and now it seems like I can’t go a day without connecting with them. I can’t wait until our next adventure! My frequent trips to Nashville for doctor appointments allowed me to spend a lot of time visiting with Lisa, Mike, Ella, and Pratish. I have also been fortunate to reconnect with one of my best friends from childhood and now were are running together! I have also lost count of all of the new friends I have met on the trail this year! So many positive people that have provided so much inspiration!
Unsolicited advice for the year to come
- Be brave
- Don’t set limits on yourself
- Make new friends
- Don’t worry about things you can’t control
- Eat good food
- Laugh often
- Make time for family and friends
- Make memories not beds
- Take a risk
- Be happy