This is my comeback.
Four years ago, I was training for my first full marathon. Speedwalking through the hills of San Francisco was the ultimate proof (for myself as much as for others) that I was healthy and that treatments for leukemia were a fading memory. I was so happy…and proud.
Two thousand eleven brought even more excitement when my niece Lucy was born! It was a busy and wonderful spring with her arrival and a new fundraising challenge. I competed in the National Capital Area Man & Woman of the Year campaign, earning the title of second runner-up and winning the mission award!
Soon after though, my world grew dark. My brother, Ronnie, died July 25th, 2011. The suddenness of his loss and the emptiness it left in my entire being seemed to bring the world to a stop. In December 2011, I was diagnosed with melanoma in situ (stage 0) between my toes. Surgeons removed it and I recovered quickly, but just two months later, I fell while walking the pups and broke the ulna and radius in my right arm. Nine months after that, I stubbed my toe and broke it badly enough to require a cast.
Part of me felt weary. I was tired of being a patient, and I was emotionally exhausted. The timeline of everything was almost tragically comical. In my heart, I knew I was so lucky to have renewed health and a supportive family. I was lucky to spend almost 33 years with a loving, intelligent, thoughtful, funny brother. I was lucky the melanoma was stage 0, lucky I still had use of my arm. I did my best to focus on the positives, but there were many days when I wondered if I would ever feel like myself.
I think often of “Finding Nemo” and Dory’s advice to “Just keep swimming”…it may sound silly, but that is truly sage advice! Somehow three years have passed since Ronnie’s death. I am still able to laugh. I can find joy in little pleasures. I have hope in the future. These are incredible feats, but I am ready for more.
This October, I will walk the Marine Corps Marathon with Team in Training in Ronnie’s memory. He was always my number one advocate, and it is his smile I will picture when I cross the finish line. I am healthy. I am loved. I will continue to celebrate life in Ronnie’s memory.
Visit my Team in Training fundraising page to make a donation.
P.S. You will notice that old blog posts have annoying characters inserted into them. This happened when they restored my blog, and I’m not technically savvy enough to figure out how to fix it. If anyone knows the trick, please let me know! This blog was Ronnie’s creation, and I want to bring it back to its former greatness.