Friday, January 22, 2010

Why I Run

I was recently asked to submit a blog post for the NF Endurance Team entitled "Why I Run." My response was posted today on the official team blog! Below is the complete text of the blog, the NFET Blog had to be edited for space, and it was edited by Emily over at CTF who I want to hire as my personal professional editor because she did a fabulous job!

I don’t remember a time when I did not know what Neurofibromatosis is. My earliest memories are of my Grandmother and Uncle in hospital beds at my Great-grandmother’s house. I would crawl into the bed with my Grandma Norma and she would bribe me with little cookies. She couldn’t hear me and was so skinny, but had the most beautiful Colombian accent. My Uncle was only 25 but as a child I thought he must be older than my grandfather, his crooked smile and patched eye only added to his character. By the time I was 7 they had both passed, and all I had were photos that still hang on my walls, fading with time.

My memories of my mother are much more complicated and expansive. As a child I watched in awe when she dressed and did her makeup, she was vain and beautiful. As a teenager I averted my gaze in fear as I helped her dress, her entire spine mottled by layers of thick scars across a back that was hunched over from being cut open countless times. The makeup was long discarded, her face drooped in uneven frowns, her eyes unable to produce the tears she so needed to release. 10 years. In 10 years NF2 took an amazing, vibrant, and crazy woman, and robbed her of her vitality, beauty and purpose. I assumed the same would happen to me. Every surgery, every scar, every tumor, I would one day relive and call my own. I vowed to live fast and die young, throwing sand in the face of NF2 and taking away its power. I had surgery after surgery and began to lose things I always knew I would. I was numb and in pain at the same time, I saw no other way to exist. My son JT was born and I knew he had NF2. It was confirmed when we found out he was blind in one eye from a tumor. I had more surgery, and then became completely Deaf. Soon after, my mom passed away. I was alone and surrounded by hearing people who only seemed to care about trivial things. I joined the support group my Mom had always leaned on, the NF2 Crew. I met other people going through the same things, and much worse. People who were still going to school, working, and accomplishing things without using NF2 as an excuse. I knew things had to change.

Then, I discovered running and the NF Endurance Team. An entire group of people with the same concerns and fears I had who were fighting back and inspiring others to do the same. My first event was the Long Beach ½ marathon in 2008. As the race started and people began to move forward I thought back on my journey. Each mile was another memory to embrace and leave behind, another NF friend I had met, or even lost. I proudly wore my bright yellow singlet, and crossed the finish line into the arms of my husband. I had accomplished something concrete by raising money for CTF, but I had gained so much more along the way… acceptance, friendship, and purpose.I run because it helps me to release the pain, I run because I know my lost loved ones are proud, I run to show others that you can overcome anything, but mostly I run because I can, and I never ever want to forget that again.

Never Give Up Hope.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Kale Hummus Bites

After reading several books on factory farm conditions and exposes on the food industry I cut meat out cold foturkey one bleak December day in 2008. I am a food person, I have never been the kind of girl that orders a salad for dinner, or even lunch. I refused to sacrifice flavor and enjoyment, so the experiments began. From the good (pesto pizza!) to the bad (cold potato soup?) my kitchen has become a bit of a science lab of sorts. My newest creation is a combination of 3 simple ingredients: crackers, hummus, and kale. Enjoy!

in food processor combine:
3 drained cans of garbanzo beans (chick peas)
3 tablespoons minced garlic
juice of 2-3 lemons
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup of olive oil, or more as desired.
(Process one can of garbanzos at a time to ensure no garbanzo is left unturned, drizzling olive oil through the funnel as you go to maintain creaminess. )

Kale Chips:
Thoroughly wash and dry one big bunch of kale. A salad spinner works best, but you can also leave the kale in a strainer covered by a cutting board or plate for a few hours. Tear kale into bite sized pieces and place in bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with parmesan, sea salt and pepper. Using hands, mix kale until all pieces are coated, shiny, and sprinkled. Transfer to 2 baking trays, spread kale out evenly in a single layer. Bake at 350 for 15 mn and remove to cool. Kale chips are delicious and addictive. My kids even gobbled them up after another hesitant stare at their insane Mommy. Kale is only $1 a bunch at the farmers market, and is one of the best food choices a person can make.

Set out chosen crackers (I use garlic herb toppers), dollop a mound of hummus, and then place 1 crispy kale chip on top!

Simple, healthy, full of protein and cancer fighting kale! These are the types of foods I eat, and the reason I have maintained my choice for so long. I hope someone else is able to enjoy it as well!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Just keep moving...

I have been allowing myself to bounce between wallowing and denial over the last month. On normal days I sleep in as much as possible and pop the anti inflammatory that masks a bit of the pain. On holidays, or any time my children start to suspect a crack in their Mommy, I suck it up and play house for them. Paul has felt the weight of the situation more than anyone, as I try to sleep at night and am restless from the cramping I toss, turn, and sigh. Paul is the one who reaches over and just strokes my back gently for a moment before falling into a deep sleep, his limp hand warm and heavy.

I finished the medication my doctor suggested, which helped when I took it, but I refuse to take narcotics daily. Instead I have allowed myself a break from anything not absolutely necessary. JT and Mica had their 2 week Winter Break, and we spent the entire time just existing together. Waking groggily late in the morning, eating as we felt like it, and looking up in surprise from the couch when Paul returned home from work. I didn't run, or even think about carbs and crunches.

At some point I knew the holiday would end, and yesterday when the alarm went off at 7:30 I was pretty sure that it had. I had the kids off to school, completed a 6 mile run, and cleaned the house all before noon! I felt invigorated and accomplished, and even though the cramping still plagued me I knew it could not control me. Only what you allow to control you will do so, and I am done being controlled by pain and fear. I have 4 weeks until my next race, the 1/2 marathon at Surf City. I can either cancel and sit in pain and depressed, or push myself and cross that finish line in pain and elated.

*Never Give Up*
Related Posts with Thumbnails