Saturday, September 3, 2011

A message and a call to listen ...

So, this was me, almost exactly 30 years ago. Taken just a few weeks before I began my senior year of highschool.

Photobucket


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.

Photobucket

Photobucket


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.


29 comments:

Rochelle said...

Aw friend, I am sorry to hear this news but, thankful you got it diagnosed and have an action plan to treat it. You look beautiful, you should do pics more often!

Elizabeth said...

You are so beautiful. Your eyes, your strong face, your beautiful lungs, working at 60%. You go.

Cammie Heflin said...

I'm bummed for this news but I am happy that now you know what it is and have a plan of treatment. You are gorgeous my friend and have no reason to hide from a camera!!! Praying you feel at peace about the dx and kick these marathons butts with your 60% lung function! You can do it!

colleen said...

Love your senior picture and remember you that way.. but I love the pic today more. So glad you found out what was going on with your body and now you will do whatever it takes to help heal it... which is what I wish for you now.. a healing of your asthma.....
Irreversible is an all encompassing word... take all the meds offered and as directed and test their hypothesis.. and let us know what happens okay? I will be thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

HEATHER, I LOVE ALL YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS. YOU NEED TO PUBLISH YOUR WRITINGS. YOUR WORDS ARE SUCH A GIFT. YOUR FAMILY IS SO BLESSED
TO HAVE YOU.

OXOXOX

CINDY BATTEN HOLZER

Laurette said...

Ok glad you got it figured out, thrilled that your 47 and so gorgeous and amazing, and inspired by you all the time!! You are a breath of fresh air, that in this world seems so rare..everyone seems to sweat the small stuff...you truly get it and live in the moment. You find the amazing in "mundane" things!! I celebrate you :)

Anna said...

Heather, you are just so beautiful. We have this in our family too. You can do this. I am glad you have a diagnosis and a treatment plan. I am so glad its this and not something else......

stephanie said...

Seriously? Okay weren't you like always out of breath? Gosh H! You gotta take care of yourself!
So now there's a plan... good!

Make that 60% the best it can be. Hey it's more than half. And if i know you, you're going to find a way to do something extraordinary in light and in spite of all this.

And your photo!! Could it be Taylor? Wow! That's amazing!

You're beautiful, then and now! Love you!

Becca said...

Wow, so beautiful then, even more beautiful now. Your strength in so many other ways more than makes up for the decrease in your lung function. I'm so sorry to hear this news, but I'm so glad you got an answer that makes sense. You are an amazing and inspirational woman, and I'm so honored to "know" you. (((hugs)))

The Annessa Family said...

So sorry for your news but trusting in Him and in YOU that good will comes from any and every thing. Your a strong, wonderful woman :)

Brooke
www.TheAnnessaFamily.blogspot.com

Kris said...

First off, you are beautiful, Heather! I am sorry for the diagnosis but I have to say, I find your attitude so heartwarming. I'm sure you'll come up with just the right plan of action. Blessings to you!

The VW's said...

Pretty Lady!!! :)

Each day....and breath, is definitely a gift!

Praying for you as you work through the news you just received! I'm sure you will do great! Love, Hugs and Prayers!!!

Lacey said...

I'm so proud of you for going to the doctor. I am the same way, and I remember you telling me to go to the doctor when I was having heart palpitations and headaches. 47, man, you look younger than me my friend, seriously!
We really need to chat, its been far too long!

Amy, a redeemed sheep said...

Ok...This is such a God thing...My son is going to public school for the first time ever and is playing football, first time ever. He had bee complaining about being out of breath and having it hurt during practice. Guess what? You guessed it, he was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma. I was doubting it. Thinking to myself that this dramatic kid of mine just is out of shape and needs to toughen up...Then I read your post. Wow...I needed to read it.

BTW, your beauty takes my breath away. Just sayin'....

blogzilly said...

Communication is a wonderful thing, especially when it is when we start to unlock the potential of listening to ourselves and our bodies, something you clearly did when you decided to go to the doctor.

Glad you did, and glad that you learned what you did now rather than later. It will help you prepare differently.

And to me? You've hardly aged a day! :)

Googsmom said...

I love you!!

Kristin said...

Oh my - what a shocker for you. Sorry for the not what you hoped for diagnosis. You are beautiful on the outside and except for 40% of your lungs, on the inside as well :)
Take care and pace yourself! Hugs from Utah.

Justine said...

Absolutely BEAUTIFUL pictures and wonderful insights! I'm sorry for the diagnosis, but I'm sure you'll move forward to a more and more stunning life and inspire the rest of us to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it is shocking that you had
photos taken, for all of us who have known you for many years this was a Heather no-no! Good job Caitlin! How did you get your mother to do this? :)

Treat those 60% lungs with resect, listen to your doctors and act accordingly.

just jean said...

Heather,
At least you know now. Knowledge is power and you can make a plan to deal with it. Your lungs might be 60%, but your spirit is (always) 100%!!
I'm not a big fan of pictures, either. Honestly, you look great!

Victoria Strong said...

As always...I'm in awe of you!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the pictures! Especially the high school one.I had a very similar hair style :) Speaking of pictures - I will get some great ones to you! As for the asthma-sorry to hear the new but it is better to finally find out and treat it accordingly. Let's talk soon! Lisa

Anonymous said...

Heather that posting for 9/5(anonymous) I noticed I did not sign. Not done on purpose Just wasn't paying attention!

Take care, & love those 60% lungs

Bluebelle

Jeana said...

Wow, we are really learning more and more where your children get their amazingness from! You are just as beautiful now as you were back in high school! Praying that you will be able to control your asma and continue to do the things you enjoy.

Bethany said...

I am sorry to hear that your asthma went untreated so long that it damaged your lungs. Your attitude is amazing. It is so easy to fall into the "why is this happening to me, look at all I lost" instead of seeing all of the blessings. Then again Miss Zoey is a constant reminder of all the blessings that come from challenges.

Bea Braun said...

Woo hoo - love the HAIR!!! Happy soon to be birthday. You may have to step down from marathoning, but you will find something new to keep you challenged! 60% that's like 100% for most of us :) Love the pictures.

renee said...

The photos of you - then and now - are beautiful. I have a 'signed' copy of your senior picture somewhere here!! Sorry to hear about your news - but fortunately you are strong and healthy. Keep on training girl - you are amazing.....
xoxo

Melissa said...

I love these pictures of you. Just beautiful!

I'm so sorry to hear your news on the health front. My dad is dealing with something very different, but similar at the same time. His lung function is closer to the 40% because of untreated lifelong asthma too. (Though for very different reasons than yours was untreated.) He has also has had complications in the last few years from congestive heart failure. Both have slowed him down considerably. To the point that walking up the stairs without O2 is hard. There is no way that he could run anywhere, let alone a marathon. While it may not seem like it, you really do have much to cherish with your health. :)

Peter Olson said...

You are a very beautiful person, inside and out.
Keep smiling for that camera.
:-)
Don't worry about those lungs stopping you from doing your God given assignments.
I'm pretty sure that running marathons may not be your calling and besides you have a much more meaningful assignment anyway.
:-)
I know that you can do even more for those charities when you use your strengths, talents and abilities.
Keep up the great work and may God richly bless your efforts. Amen!
:-)
Only Heather can be Heather. :-)