Monday, April 8, 2013

Some old, some new, life goes on...

An individuals story is made up of their experiences.  Places they've been, things they've seen, people they've met.  Life is about experiencing different things.  About stepping outside your realm of experiences and learning about others, their cultures, and their beliefs. For me, March was filled with that.  For those of you that don’t know, my girlfriend is Irish.  I am not, yet for the first time I had the opportunity to take part in her family’s celebrations.  First came the Feast of St. Patrick, or St. Patrick’s Day, for those that are more familiar with that name.  Well, my girlfriend’s family celebrates a little bit differently.  Yes, we drank some beers (well not me) and ate some corn beef.  Yes, we sang Irish songs and danced Irish jigs (well not me).  Yes, we listened to bag pipes and drums.  And yes, all those things were glorious.  But they celebrate by marching in a parade.  The Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  A real parade with bag pipers and drummers, firemen and police officers, and city and county officials.  There were jokes and laughs and good times had by all.  I think I fit in for the most part.  I wore green, acted jolly and strolled along with everyone else in proper marching order tyring to look like I knew what I was doing.  Not quite sure if it worked, but I'll practice for next year.

A few weeks later I got my first Easter basket.  Filled with Easter Eggs, chocolate goodies, jelly beans, and other assorted candies it was a diabetics dream.  In all seriousness, it was fun.  Had a great brunch and spent a great day with Meg's family.  From watching the kiddos go bonkers,  falling and crashing all over the place to find every single egg that was hidden to the endless sugar high we all felt, it was a real Easter.  Kind of reminded me of the afikoman search we used to do as kids.  For those of you that don’t know, that’s when the parents hide a piece of matzah and send the kids searching for the hidden treasure, normally for a reward of 5 dollars.  Either way, it was a far cry from my normal Easter celebration of cleaning my apartment and ordering Chinese food, but a fun experience nonetheless.  

All the while I had the pleasure of another PICC line.  The beginning of the year was a bit rough.  On and off, I experienced all the normal symptoms of a CF exacerbation – lung function decrease, sputum production increase, lack of energy, shortness of breath, etc. – the list goes on and on.  Either way, I was not feeling great and with spring right around the corner the decision was made.  My left arm would once again become a prisoner of the PICC.  IV medications every 12 hours; increased treatments and nebulizers; more sleep and rest.  A quick "tune up" and everything was back to normal.  Is it the most fun way to spend two weeks?  No.  Is it worth it so I can feel better and get back to the living the life I love?  Yes.  Well, I’m back.  Energy is back.  Bad jokes are back.  Solid runs are back.  And just in time.  Racing season is here.  First up is the Dick’s Sporting Goods half marathon in Pittsburgh followed 7 weeks later by the San Francisco Marathon.  Throw a sprint triathlon and a 5-mile race in there and you have a nice 8 week stretch of races.  So for now, head is high.  Goals are set.  Can’t think of a better way to celebrate life! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

The power to inspire

One of the most surreal things to hear someone say is that you motivate or inspire them.  That you are the reason they have the power to wake up in the morning and run.  That every time they go through something tough in life they think of you and they find the strength to get through it.  That someone considers you their hero. 

This past week I was able to hear that.  I had a wonderful opportunity to tell my story.  To give the rest of the world a peek into what I go through, what I deal with, and what I overcome every single day of my life.  I was able to show what living with a chronic illness is like; what my daily routine consists of; the pills, the nebulizers, and the machinery.  A peek into how I try my best to balance a full-time job, managing two chronic illnesses, and still finding time to do what I love - RUN.  A peek into the mindset of what it's like to live and fight and battle every single day for every single breath.  A peek into the mindset of what it's like to not know what the future holds; to not plan for the long-term; to not take anything for granted.  A peek into my life. 

At this point in time my video has close to 80,000 views.  I've received emails and notes from my closest friends, from people I haven't spoken to in over 20 years, and from people I've never met.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this video would spread like this.  Never did I imagine to hear the things I've heard from people.  Never did I imagine that Cory Booker would post it on his Facebook page, that Business Insider would call this the "story that will inspire you to do anything," that hundreds of my friends would repost, and that people I've never met would comment and be inspired.  Never did I imagine that what I do on a daily basis, what I consider normal, would drive and motivate and inspire people to be their best.  Never did I imagine that I can have that impact on so many people. 

And it's amazing what you learn.  As I said in the video I run because I love it.  I run because it puts me in my happy place and brings a smile to my face.  I run because it gives me a sense of freedom.  Free from CF.  Free from work.  Free from everyone and everything.  I learned that I love to run more and more each day.  I learned that I can continue to do anything and everything.  I learned, once again, that there is nothing in this world that can stop me.  As long as you want something and you have the drive, motivation, and determination that you can do anything.  I've learned and accepted that you don't have to be the best.  I'm not going to win every race.  I'm not even going to come close, but I learned that at the end of the day you don't have to be the best, you just have to be your best.  And with that there are no limits.

the twitter: @LungsontherunSB

Click here to watch the full video