Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chicago 2009 Marathon!!

I have been in a training slump over the last few weeks, although I am still running my races I have not been logging in the miles daily. I think I may have finally pulled myself out and am on a regular schedule now. I just have to stick to it!!

So far we have raised $2058 toward Childhood Cancer Research!! I am so happy with the support and encouragement that I have received.

I recently was invited to run for the Rally Foundation and run in memory of Johnathon who will become a "Rally Kid" The Rally Foundation is the organization that I have become a part of, it has given me a way to raise money for my cause and has made it easy. I have had so much personal support from the staff.

October 11, 2009 the Rally Athletes are going to run in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I will be one of those athletes!! I have to raise at least $3200 to qualify. I am almost there with only $1152 to go!!

I know that I can raise the money, but I am scared that I may not have what it takes to run a full marathon!! That's 26.2 miles!! I felt good after the 14K (8.7 miles) and feel quite certain that I could do a half marathon, but a full one!? The thought scares me.

Then I wondered if I have set the bar too high! If I actually have what it takes to do the whole thing. Garrett says that running a half marathon would be just as rewarding and would still show the support and love that I have for Johnathon and would still be raising funds for Childhood Cancer Research. But running a full marathon? Do I really have the athletic ability to do it, the mind set? I know that I have the determination and the drive. I just feel a little overwhelmed when I think about it all.

I know that I say it is all about one race at a time, one mile at a time and just staying in a "Forward Motion". But I have never been good at following my own advise.

The one thing that I always hear from people when it comes to my history with my son and his battle with cancer is "your so strong...I could have never done that" I hear this more often that I want to hear. But honestly I was just doing what I "had" to do. I didn't think of it as having the strength, I just thought of it as doing what any mom would do, to just be there for my son.

I was 25 years old when I had Johnathon, what the hell did I know at 25? I'm almost 40 now and I'm just figuring things out, just now moving forward from being stuck for so long.

I can remember as clear as yesterday when we had to take Johnathon to Salt Lake City Children's Hospital to find out what was going on in his stomach. Our pediatrician had found what looked like tumors on his liver and kidney in x rays.

I remember sitting in the waiting area after meeting with the doctors and I can remember sitting there with toys all around me, kids playing and people all around. But as I sat there I felt so alone and so scared. I just sat there with my stomach doing flip flops and thought at any moment I would throw up!

I waited for the doctors to review the charts and x rays. I waited thinking about how I ended up here? How does this happen, what is going to happen? I just watched as Johnathon played with the other kids in the waiting room, and fought to hold back the tears, swallowed hard as I thought of the worst and then took a deep breath in as the nurse called us back to the office.

I tried hard not to let the fear show, tried hard not to let anyone see me cry. I was scared. Then the doctors all gathered around me and my son, my mom and step dad at my side. Then the words I feared the most shattered what was left of my somewhat normal life.

I am afraid to tell you that the tumors in your sons stomach may be cancerous tumors.

Cancerous tumors!! My son has cancer!! My head spun around and I felt my heart drop, I felt a lump in my throat and tried to pull myself together, I was going to stand strong and be strong, but I could feel my knees weaken and my heart breaking as my world came crashing down all around me.

I just looked at my son and I thought, oh my God, what am I supposed to do now!! How could I even begin to imagine the road ahead of me. Nothing could prepare me for this. Nothing!!

When I got home I put my son down to sleep, as I tried to keep from crying. I looked at him as he slept silently, and I gently caressed his head with my hand brushing back his hair and telling him, it was going to be alright, mommy is here and everything is going to be alright. I then knelt down at the side of his bed and I prayed as I had never prayed before I prayed for God to give me the courage and the strength to stay strong and I prayed for God to watch over Johnathon, then I cried myself to sleep that night, wondering what I had done to deserve this, why me, why John.

The next day Johnathon was scheduled for surgery to have the tumors removed. As I sat there in the surgery waiting room, my mom at my side, she could see me struggling with myself, struggling to stay strong, not to cry, holding back the flood of emotion that was always just below the surface, struggling with myself. And as mom always did, she stood quietly and strongly at my side touched my hand and said in her soft voice says to me...just one day at a time, one step at a time. Then that was all I needed to let the emotion take over me.

So I guess I just have to look at this journey the same way, no matter how scared or how unsure I am of what is going to happen next, I just have to remember one day at a time, one step at a time.

When I don't think that I am strong enough, I just think of how strong Johnathon was as he started onward with his battle with cancer.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I just have to say how amazed I am to the amount of donations that we have received from complete strangers, that don't know me or Johnathon, but are touched by our story. It makes me feel like this is really making a difference and really spreading the word about childhood cancers and awareness. Thanks also to all my wonderful friends that have forwarded my emails and blogs to their friends and families. The response is great and it makes me more motivated every time I hear, "I received this email from a friend..." Thanks to all of you for all of your support!! Please continue to spread the word for the Rally Foundation for Cancer Research!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentines Day 14k!!

I would have to say that this was the hardest and longest run so far! It was a great turn out on Saturday morning for the Valentines Day 14k Run. A huge turn out of 2000 people!! The atmosphere was happy and energetic. All for a good cause so many people came out to run for cancer research and awareness.

What I loved most that there were so many different people, different sizes, shapes and ages all out to just have a good time! I enjoyed the spirit and the love of the sport with so many different people. Although a 14k is a very long distance!

Again, after a long night in the ED I headed out for yet another run in my long list of scheduled runs until next year. It was going to be a great day! The weather was just right for running. I have been so lucky to have the support of so many of my friends and co workers, I feel as if all of them are right along side me as I run each race. I have gotten support from people that I may not have otherwise thought would be so encouraging and yet their support and encouragement make me feel as if I can really make a difference.

The race started out at a pretty quick pace, people trying to get by, you trying to get passed,but yet people were so nice and polite as they passed you or bumped you slightly. Not as if I was at the mall or grocery store where I would have been run down by a shopping cart if I wasn't on my game!

I had a positive energy threw out the race, feeling like I was making good time and moving at a nice pace for my level. I felt good, knowing I was out for a good cause and that I was doing all this for a bigger goal and purpose. I felt strong...that was until I hit mile marker 6!! Then I realized...oh only another 2.7miles to go!!

The last leg hurt...and so many times I wanted to stop!! So many times I just wanted to slow down and walk for a bit, but I know my brain and if I stop and walk...I have mentally quit. So I just plugged along dragging my lead filled legs and just kept my head down and one foot in front of the other.

I still found enough energy to clap for those I did pass along the way, cheer for those trying to keep going, and holding back the tears because I knew I was feeling like I wanted to give up.

I turned my focus to the real reason I am running, I'm doing this for Johnathon and for my own spiritual healing. I have spent the last 10 years serving some self inflicted penance that I felt I have to pay for some reason, always blaming myself, always feeling as if I should suffer, suffer as my son suffered with cancer.

I can't explain why I have felt that way, or why I spent so many years doing it. I know now it was out of the guilt of not being able to do anything about my sons cancer and the guilt that I somehow was to blame. I had to turn my anger and blame to someone and that someone was me.

So I focused on the hours I spent in the hospital, the hours beside his bed while he was so sick that each day the nurses and doctors were trying to prepare me for him dying. And each day I would just come in, sit at my sons side open his favorite book and just say..."not today..." and then I would read to him.

Not today...he was not going to die, not today not this way! That was what I had said for almost 2 months each day I walked into that PICU where my son was hooked to so many machines you didn't even know there was a little boy in there.

I thought of those moments as I ran that last stretch and I picked my head up and thought as I hurt in every muscle, in every joint..."not today.. I'm not quiting...not today"...and I moved forward.

I held back the tears with each step and with each breath I just kept thinking...I just have to finish!

I rounded the last turn as I headed down the last 200 meters of the race, and there at the corner were my fiancee Garrett, my daughter and son, Oscar and Maggie and my little step daughter Isabella. All I could see was their little faces and hear their cheers and I looked at Garrett with his big grin and hearing " Go Mommy Go!!" and I could no longer hold the tears back...I just ran!!
Maggie ran along side me for a bit and kept yelling "faster mom faster" all I could get out was I love you guys!! And I sprinted the last bit with all I had!

I'm not sure what I finished in, or what didn't matter...I searched the area and looked for my kids and my Garrett...I was doing my best to keep it together and not collapse...I looked and finally saw them coming toward me...and as much as I hurt..I ran to them! Hugs and kisses and a lot of I love yous!! And the tears just kept coming!

I guess I am running now for so many things I didn't know at first. For my Johnathon of coarse, for my healing and for my kids now. It is about setting a goal, and following through. Showing my kids that you can do anything you want if you only just try.

Just keep it in a "forward motion" that's all I have to do!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What it is to be a Mom

As we hit $2020 in funds raised so far, I have to sit back and take a deep breath....all this in just a few short weeks! It is amazing to me that one simple thought turned into an idea that lead me to this place in time. I'm going to run a marathon! When really only a few years ago it was all I could do to just get through the day.

As I journal through this training and writing my random thoughts I will be reflecting back on the trials and tribulations of the past 10 years, through my struggles and my grief. What I struggle with as a mother and that special bond with a child.

I guess the 10 year anniversary of Johnathon's passing has really in some way ignited all this, but I think it was well over due. The process of my own healing has been long over due. I'm not sure what it took really, all I know that it was time. I talk about John and his cancer and his life as if it was only a few years ago, then one day I has been 10 years!! 10 years and I am still holding on so tightly to him.

I know it is not about "letting go" or "moving on" but I somehow feel as if I have been stuck and I'm unable to be the sort of mother to my children now that I was to Johnathon then. I'm not sure if that makes sense or not, but it is something that has been weighing heavily on my mind.

Do I not give as much to my children alive and here with me as I have and continue to give to Johnathon who is no longer with us? It is a question that is hard to ask a mother, let alone try to answer. I'd like to say that it makes me a better mother, but does it really? I no longer have the patience I once did, the stamina for sure. Do I in some sort of way distance myself from my children now for fear of losing one of them? Although we know that I almost did lose Oscar and did lose a child this last summer. So what changes the way I mother now then the way I mothered then? Is it the fact that I know what that deep sense of loss feels like that empty pit of despair and grief. I shutter to the thought of ever having to feel that again.

I find as I work through this journey of healing that I am starting to discover more about myself and why I may have acted in response to my sons death. As I am reaching 40 I like to think that I have a better understanding of who I am, why I have done the things that I have and why I am where I am today. I really have no answer to that.

When Johnathon died I was 25 years old...for me I know and I would say I was just a kid...what did I possibly know about raising a child or being a parent at that age, and surely I had no tools to deal with the heavy burden as that of the loss of a child and not just loss but to watch a baby suffer and struggle as I stood by helplessly. I myself was not even prepared to deal with the issues that faced me. All I knew was that I needed to be there at the side of my baby and do what all us mothers, care and try to comfort, to never leave his side.

When I look back at those days when times were really getting hard and my own mother would stand behind me somewhere in the back of the room watching me, watching me.. her own child, watching me as I cared and comforted my own baby, watching me hurt and suffer on the inside and knowing she could do nothing. I think of those moments and then I think of my own daughter, and how much it would kill me to see her hurt, see her cry, see her heart break.

Then I realize, that is what being a mother is. It is standing quietly, strongly and silently in the back of the room and watching your baby whether she be 25 or 40 or 8 years old and to feel your heart break because you could do nothing to sooth her heart from breaking. But to just be there when she was needed. How hard that must have been for my own mother.

To this day, I know my mom stands quietly at my side, only waiting for me to ask and she would do anything. And as an adult I find the comfort of just lying on my moms bed with my head in her lap and just cry, cry uncontrollably as if I was 8 years old again. Because in our moms arms we always feel the safest, that her hand stroking our hair was we sob somehow just makes it all seem like it's going to be okay! For those moments I thank my mom!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Not Feeling It!!

Oh my aching legs!! Talk about hitting the wall today! I was not feeling my run today. I usually try to do at least a 3.5-4 mile run each day and at least one long run (5+) a week, but today was painful! I swear my legs felt like I had lead weights attached, I was not moving as fast as I wanted to and the 3.5 daily run was really really long today. Maybe it was the cold, maybe I'm just tiered. But it does "demotivate" me in a way...some days are just hard. Today was one of those days! So I sulked all day and then went and had a huge cheeseburger and fries with Garrett at Cheeseburger in Paradise, food always makes me feel better.

As far as the fund raising, it is going GREAT!! We have now reached $1430.00 that is almost 1/2 of my goal!! At least that got me a little more motivated about running tomorrow. It's my long run day so I hope it is nice!!