Three days before Saturday's race, I went to see a new doctor who told me I was in an active, serious lupus flare and that running would not be recommended in Denver's altitude. He also recommended that I quit nomadding (new word) around and settle down for a bit. I nicknamed him Dr. KickAss because he really did kick my ass about not taking these diseases seriously and moving around without establishing care. I wasn't doing anything crazier than my peers (working, happy hour, surfing, trips to Europe where you drink wine for every meal...), but further denial that I was sick could seriously damage my health.
I took what ole Kick Ass said into consideration and made the choice to stay home in New Jersey for the foreseeable future, until my health stabilizes. I have a team of doctors here who are working together to make sure my body and mind are strong enough to live a long life, a life I want and deserve. It is worth giving up my life in California and a bit of my independence and pride. (And it doesn't hurt that I have a beautiful new niece to enjoy, and a boyfriend who dotes on me here, even if he does make me realize that The Cheesecake Factory is the greatest place on Earth and OMG I AM NJ!)
But before I changed my plans for the next 12 months, I wanted to do THIS. I wanted to run the race I have spent all summer training for. So as I left the doctor's office, a little shocked and definitely shaken, I vowed I would run anyway. I would stop and walk but I would finish what I had pledged to do. I told my parents and my boyfriend and my friends that illness can have me Tuesday, because first I was going to run in Denver and have fun with my cancer camp friends.
And so I did it. I was slow, and I was hurting, but I EFFING did it.
And I am positive that I wouldn't have done it without you. So thank you.
Thank you to all those who donated, to all those who gave us support, who wished Meghan and I luck and told us we could do it.
Thank you to those who held signs and screamed our names. To the emails we got before we raced, to the support that made me take deeper breaths and think KEEP GOING KEEP GOING KEEP GOING!
Thank you for guiding me. For giving me strength. For supporting an organization that is teaching me so much, that is giving me friends who understand me in a way no one has before. That is connecting me with other survivors who breathe life into mine and know what it means to have to change your life because of illness.
I will be recovering this fall, winter and spring in New Jersey. I will hate it at times. But I will have the memories of this wonderful weekend in Denver, Colorado.
I will know I can do what healthy people can do. I know that one day, I will do it again.
Thank you all.