Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Making Health a Priority

As much as I want to get to the positive stuff about the runDisney Dark Side Challenge, best to probably get all of my bummer stuff out of the way. I’ve never been more convinced that I need to always make health a priority than right this moment.

Before I left for the races at Disney, I learned my stepmother was in the hospital. You might remember her as the lady who had just been down to Florida to visit me three weeks ago and passed judgment on my choice to not eat McDonalds.

What I failed to share is that she’s been in my life since I was 12 years old and is one of the most compassionate and genuine people I know. She's my second Mom. Last year, she successfully fought skin cancer. She’s been keeping up with recurring doctor’s visits. We figured that ickyness was all in the past.

When I saw her in early April, even though she looked like her normal self, she wasn’t feeling 100%. My father confided in me that he believed her cancer had returned.

The day after she left my house, she went back into the hospital.

My last conversation with her was about how much she loved and missed my dog, Joey, and how the doctor had given her medical marijuana (funny when I realized that must be why we were having such a rambling conversation), and how she was mostly optimistic but they just needed to get a few additional test results.

And that was it. I ran my races and then left for a five day cruise, on which I had no access to email or my phone.

When I returned and started seeing what everyone was up to on Facebook, I saw a few posts from a family member and learned things had really gone south while I was away.

My first phone call was to my father.

My second phone call was to United Airlines to book a rewards miles flight back to New Jersey.

And here I’ve been since, helping my father try to live life as normally as possible, as he has pretty much been spending 24/7 by her side at the hospital.

Here’s what I know: She caught a virus in the last hospital she was in, and moved to a better facility. She’s on a respirator. Her organs are failing. She’s only 60 years old.

My healthy stepmother
My 2nd mom sitting with my dog on my front porch earlier this month.
I don’t understand. How could this have gone so wrong so quickly?

So now I work during the day. I visit her at night. I cook for the family. I do laundry. I help my brother get to work and help him process what’s going on. And mostly, I try not to worry about my father and the future. This is not a scenario I ever imagined for him. One of the reasons I felt ok leaving NJ last year was that I figured he didn’t need me because he had her.

This family needs her. She's got too much life left to be lived!

Please send positive thoughts her way.

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