And these, these were taken today, almost exactly 30 years later. Now, if you are a friend of mine or a family member, your mouth is most likely hanging wide open at this moment because, I do not do pictures. Ever. Infact, the last time, I most likely allowed a picture to be taken of me, just me, was probably for that senior picture. Today for some reason, I decided to change that. So Caitlin and I, on a whim, headed out to the backyard, and I painfully sat for a few photos. Growth for me. Huge growth.
Here I am, on the cusp of my 47th birthday and I find myself reflective and introspective. Which really don't happen to be bad things to be doing. I think everyone, no matter the age, should do it from time to time actually. I have a myriad of reasons to be doing my self evaluation of sorts, not just my upcoming birthday. And yesterday, yet another reason presented itself as I found something out on the health front, that took my breath away. Literally and with absolutely no pun intended.
As I mentioned earlier in the week, I have been struggling big time with my training for these marathons. My endurance has not been what it should be at this point, with how hard I have been training and for the last few weeks I have been trying to figure it out and tweek this and that. Suddenly, a light bulb went off and I began to piece together what might be going on. I have never, as much as I consider myself an athlete, had great endurance. I always blamed it on a long standing history of respiratory illnesses as a child. I have vivid memories as a child, of being woken up, to suck down some vile yellow cough syrup, to cease the all night coughing. As an adult, if there are colds and the flu going around, it hits my chest first and takes me forever to get over them. Doesn't help that I am stubborn like no other, and I seldom see a doctor. So this week an epiphany. I start to think that I might have exercise induced asthma. I happen to have 2 children that have had severe asthma and, in the past, when asked by their pediatrician, if there was any history of asthma in the family, I always replied nope. No other history of asthma. But now, now, I wasn't so sure.
So off to the specialist I go and sure enough, asthma. Lifelong more than likely. Exercise induced for sure. We proceed to do a lung function test and if you could have seen the doctors face when she returned with the results. She was shocked. Really shocked and that is not the look that you want to see on a specialists face. She said, by looking at me she would have bet I would have hit that sucker at over 100% lung function, but me, no, I like to do things a bit different. Much like that youngest child of mine. I score a 60%. A freaking 60% in over all lung function. Irreversible damage from lifelong,untreated asthma. That blew my mind. And hers. So we have a game plan and it has taken me 24 hours to process it all but I am handling it like I do most things, with humor most especially and with the knowledge that I will find my way. As I always do.
A dear and oh so wise friend, reminded me of a few things.Things I knew in my heart already but needed to hear anyway. A reminder that I was just given a gift in a message. A message that went something like this: At least my lungs are operating at 60 % and not 40 %. At least I have had an opportunity to run for 47 years. Many more than most. Especially my young fighter friends. My time may just be up for the long hauls, the marathons. I might need to listen to the quiet nudging of what I am perhaps being called to do otherwise. These marathons are being run on behalf of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, both which are so near and dear to me. Maybe I am being called to be a part of those amazing organizations in other ways. And finally, at least I am here today. Living and breathing. A gift. Each day. Each breath. Each moment.
Message received. And I am listening.