On Being Six and in Chronic Pain

Pattern:

  1. She wakes up miserable.  She feels terrible.  She woke up half a dozen times and coughed her rattly cough and told you she felt horrible and barfy.
  2. You do you best song and dance to get her to eat some toast and tea, get her dressed.
  3. You cajole her and pamper and tease and goad and get the socks she forgot and zip up the jacket and put the mittens and hat on her and get her out the door.
  4. She drags her feet on the driveway, but then she picks up speed like you knew she would, and skips to the bus stop so she can be first in line.
  5. She gets on the bus and you breathe a sigh of relief.
  6. 10:15, you get the first phone call from the school nurse.  You talk to her on the phone and you don’t ask if she needs to come home and she doesn’t say it, so you tell her to rest up and go back to class when she’s ready.
  7. You call back at 11, but hear nothing from the nurse and assume the best.
  8. 1:30 is the second call, from her teacher, saying she just started crying in math, so you say you’re on your way.
  9. You rush over, sign her out, trek down to her room to find her in the hallway, getting dressed to go home, all smiles.  You sigh inwardly.
  10. You wait and pick up her brother, too, who shares his pretzels and the two skip down the street, happy as clams.
  11. She tells you all the things that went wrong today, then all the things she wants to do tonight (go get ravioli, no, go out to dinner, watch a movie, go to Menchie’s).
  12. And you just get angry.  You haven’t slept well in more than six years.  You are done with this roller coaster of her feeling horrible and then suddenly skipping with her brother, and then feeling terrible again  You’d think that when she felt great, I’d feel better.  Relieved.  Happy.  I don’t.  I feel bitter and tired and deeply crabby.  I can’t stand the sound of her croupy, month-long, cough any longer.  I get angry when she has energy and is playful.

Here’s the thing.  When she feels bad, her tummy hurts, her forehead hurts, its visible.  You can see it in her eyes that it’s truly bad.  When she wakes at night because she doesn’t feel good, she legitimately feels very bad.  And I’m so done with it.  We’ve seen her (useless) pediatrician a dozen times, the neurologist twice, an acupuncturist, three different chiropractors.  I’ve met with her teacher and the school psychologist.  We’ve cut out dairy and gluten and sugar and food dyes.  We’ve added water and magnesium and magnets and early bedtimes and fiber and more fresh fruit and whole grains and vegetables and laxatives and even a miserable enema…all the things we’re supposed to do and nothing changes anything.  And sometimes….she feels great.  Really great.  And I’m so tired I can’t stand her constant chatter and requests.

This is not a fatigue that goes away.  This is not something a date-night or Moms’ Night Out can cure.

She was sleeping a few weeks ago.  For the first time in her life, she was sleeping from nightfall until morning and it was disorienting but so welcome.  And then I made the mistake of telling someone and she stopped.  She’s back to waking two to six times a night, me with her, to tell me how bad she feels, to cough on my pillow, to tell me her terrible dreams.

I forgot where I was driving, *while* I was driving three times this morning.  I forgot my keys and phone and purse at a friend’s last night.

I stood in the kitchen for 27 minutes not making dinner tonight.  Not thinking.  Not deciding.  Just standing.  And then it was dinner and I opened a can of olives and called it a night.

 

So when I finally tuck her in and she drips back out to tell me for the millionth time how very bad she feels, I rub her chest with Vick’s, and fill her up with a teaspoon of honey for the cough, give her a drink with Kids’ Tummy TLC, Rescue Remedy and Lemon Balm Calm for the sore tummy and the nerves, ten little pastilles for croupy cough and tension headaches, and a Moon Drop for sleep.  Because I can’t keep giving her ibuprofen, which doesn’t work on her headache anyway.  Because maybe, just maybe, she still believes in magic pills and homeopathic cures.  I don’t. Not anymore. Please, stranger on the phone and in the store, tell me again how essential oils will help so much.  Add it to the list of things I have hardened my heart against.

I’m so, so tired.  I am worn right down.  I’ve done all I can to take care of myself once I use all my best parenting powers to get her to school.  And for the most part, I’m back to full-strength to keep taking care of her when I need to.   I do not know how parents of kids with special needs, or high needs, or serious or chronic health issues do it.  It is chronic for us, but it is not life-threatening or dire or scary.  Just constant.

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I wrote the above a month ago.  I wrote On Being Five (and in chronic pain) a year and a half ago.  This afternoon we head back to the doctor.  Again.  The same useless one. (looking at this, I’m realizing AGAIN that I need a new pediatrician.  Done.) Because it has been another month and no change.  I have no answers.  Add the shame of that to how I already feel about her “not feeling good all the time.”  What are we doing wrong? How have we lived this long just hoping she would feel better?  What do we do now?

 

 

The Cost of Blooming

It sounds like an exaggeration when I say I haven’t slept well in almost nine years, but it’s not.  My son is almost nine.  He didn’t sleep well until he was 4 1/2.  My daughter is 6 and has never slept well.  There were some overlapping years when neither of them slept and I was a zombie;  I would pray every time before I drove my car.  And then he started sleeping like a log and one kid’s needs in the night didn’t seem so hard.

A month ago, she started sleeping bedtime til morning, uninterrupted, a whole 11 hours and it was the strangest thing.  (She’d only slept more than six hours in a row less than ten times in her life before that.Really.)  This happened about ten times in two weeks and then we were back to getting up once or twice every night, like always. And my well of adrenaline or whatever I use to function is dry.  I don’t have anything left.

We haven’t done a sleep study on her despite the need.  I’ve always been put off by her doctors, who say she’s too young or we need to get X under control before we do a sleep study.  X being her headaches, her tummy aches, her sinus congestion or croupy chest cold.  Or we need to wait on what the neurologist says or give her a couple more weeks of school to settle in.  And I’m too tired to argue.

It’s true that I’ve hit bottom before.  With a broken heart and bruised spirit over her, even.  I’ve sent out distress beacons before or sat down on the floor of the grocery store or quit workouts after the warm-up out of fatigue.  I’ve lost hope and been so grateful that this is my work, this raising her is my job, and been all over the map with worry and “solutions”.  None of it matters.  What matters is what happens tonight and how she feels tomorrow and the day after.

“I’m just here to help her bloom.”  I heard myself saying that to a nurse just now over the phone.

I stood up too fast after getting stretched out at PT this morning and had to bend double for a good, long minute to un-fog my head.  Of course he asked if I was okay and what was going on and I, of course, said I’m fine, it’s just a head-rush.  So when he went to type up my new exercises I slipped on my boots and emergency-texted my husband and got a friend to come pick me up because the internal shakes weren’t going away.

I don’t know what your greatest fears are.  I pretend not to know what mine are most of the time, but one of them is being trapped somewhere and another is being incapable of getting my body to do what I need it to.  So when the PT came back and read off the new instructions, those two fears asked just how I planned to walk out of there, and I suddenly couldn’t understand what he was saying or what the letters on the page meant and started to visibly shake and cry and feel deeply embarrassed.  He got me some ice water and talked me down and when I stood up to leave it happened all over again with me leaning against a table.  Turns out he knows panic from the inside and his next patient cancelled, and he’s calm and concerned and can he call my doctor for me. He walked me out to the front doors and I told him that I was one hundred percent, but we both know I’m a liar.

Stef picked me a minute later and I cried and told her I was an idiot.  And she laughed and said I could pin this on anything and bought me a coffee and drove me home.

The nurse from my general physician’s office called while I was napping with the kittens.  My PT was worried.  And so is my GP.  Do I want to come in and talk?  And I broke down on the phone.  “I’m fine,” I repeat.

We talk through what happened this morning and I mention my daughter and sleeplessness and make an appointment for next week for lack of anything else to do, and then in parting, the nurse asks, “How old is your daughter?”

She’s six. No, I don’t have insomnia—She doesn’t sleep and therefore I don’t sleep.  No, home isn’t stressful.  Being away from home is stressful.  She doesn’t speak easily to people she doesn’t know very well and it’s so hard to be in school when you want so badly to be there and to be in front of the class and to show off what you know but you don’t speak, you can’t speak, the words get stuck in your chest and make your tummy hurt and your head ache.  She still wakes in the night and needs reassurance.  Or medicine because her head feels so terrible. And I’m just here to do that, to help her feel better, to let her find her self and her voice, and to make sure she blooms.  Because I’m her mom.

The nurse is one of my tribe, because she pauses and says she feels for my daughter, and for me.  Because that’s what my daughter needs, and me too, I suppose.  We don’t need tough love, or to be left alone in the dark night with our own fears.  We need someone to place a hand on our back and remind us to breathe sometimes.  Or lots of the time, I guess.

I still believe that this is the right path.  That the vitality and sanity and normal interactions with near strangers that have been lost are a small price to pay for her to grow up knowing that she’s safe and loved and most certainly not alone.

She’s my daughter.

First Step

Yesterday marked the beginning of a new chapter for me.  It was the first day I was comfortable talking about my MS.

I hurt my hip doing my own bike-run-bike the beginning of December.  I have big plans of doing a half-marathon for the first time this April 1st, before tri season. (“Before tri season.” Listen to me.) So when the injury persisted after a few weeks rest, I called the UW Running Clinic and amazingly, wondrously, got in to see a Physical Therapist in a matter of two days.  Is this the benefit of being, of thinking like, an athlete?? I’ll take it.

I was expecting to be put on a treadmill and have my gait analyzed, but we’re not there yet.  First we repair and strengthen.  I met a friend in the lobby, a colleague of my PT, and we caught up about our kids and our health and made plans for his wife and I to train together.  It felt like belonging to a special club.  It felt great.

I meet my PT and he’s smart and nice and he asks questions about the injury and my goals and then, “Is there anything else I should know?”  And I don’t even hesitate to tell him I give myself injections three times a week for MS prevention and my hip is one of those injection sites and I’ve got some welts to prove it.  And he nods and asks if I have any mobility concerns related to that and it’s all completely normal.  He didn’t apologize to me for the diagnosis I shared.  I didn’t have to tell him how it started or how long it’s been going on.

He asks after my kids and we laugh about him asking if I pick them up, which I hear as “picking up after” and, of course I do, they’re slobs.  I mean, they’re my children.

One little test is while sitting, slouching and dropping my chin, I straighten one leg out and see where it’s tight on each side.  Except that dropping my chin makes the bottom of my feet go numb….and I have to redo the exercise a lot until I notice any other sensation. (It’s L’hermittes’ Sign, a vestige of the initial nerve damage.)  I explain what I can and can’t feel and he nods.

He gives me some homework (clamshells, hip raises, foam rolling) and I’m to stay away from yoga and running for a bit.  He mentions something horrible known as “dry needling” as a possible recourse if things don’t improve and jokingly I ask if it’ll make me cry.  He hesitates too long and I laugh and tell him, don’t worry, I’ll do my exercises.  I ask slyly if this is a good reason to get a new bike, hmm?? And he laughs and says definitely.  As long as I have it fitted.  Deal.

Later, he left me with my new resistance band while he filled out forms and I did some bicep curls with it until he came back (only because I didn’t have my phone and I don’t remember how to sit still, look pretty.)  Then, I needed to sign off on our plan and I couldn’t do it.  I’d been gripping the resistance band and my hand was hot and crampy and I got three letters out before I had to stop and shake it out.  Try again.  Third time, I manage to ink it out and he asks, “So what’s going on there?”  And I tell him “Oh.  That’s damage.  When my hand gets too hot, I lose my grip.”  And he’s a physical therapist who works is sports rehab so he says “Oh.  So running in the winter is actually probably better?”  Yep.
“How do you do with summer triathlons?”
“Good.  Well, actually, it’s a challenge.  I wear an ice-vest for the run, but that only give me about 20 minutes on a warm day. It’s part of why I only do sprints.”

Nods.  He just nods.  And it’s no big thing.  And he doesn’t congratulate me or tell me I’m doing the best thing for myself or tell me anything about how great I am.  And I liked it.  A lot.  This is me.  This is what I do.   I didn’t flinch or soften anything about my diagnosis or the small parts of it that affect my life.  And it was just fine.

No Xmas Cards

Are you flooded with catalogs already?  I am. It starts in October and turns to a deluge. Toys. Puffy vests. Plaids. Glitter. Shiny. It’s like a war-boy’s death approaches, all this chrome in my mail box.

After my fifth sample Minted card with foil-pressed letters, I’ve decided not to do Christmas cards this year.  They’re too precious.  Too ostentatious.  Gold foil??  I’d be delighted to receive such a beautiful card.  I love getting pictures of people’s gorgeous families, and especially love the ones where someone is not thrilled about being in the picture.  But I ‘m not wading through gallery choice of gold foil and glitter and the staging the perfect picture of my kids this year.

I’m not putting on our annual Solstice Spectacular, either.  Last year I tried to go small for the holidays and it still felt like too much.  Maybe it’s a bah-humbug kind of year, but I actually just have hope that it will be calm and lovely instead of garish and rushed and overdone.  Maybe.  There’s always a chance I’ll give up and lay down on a shelf in Target like the priest in the window on Easter morning in Chocolat.

chocolat
#spiritanimal

What are holiday cards for?  Well-wishing for the season and new year?  Plus a little piece of something beautiful and peaceful?  Well, here you all go.  I hope you are well this holiday season.  I hope you find moments with your loved ones that make all the external noise disappear.  I hope you have time for hot chocolate and that you experience the joy and wonder that my kids do at the first snow.  And as for a little piece of something pretty, this is what caught my eye looking through this year’s pictures so far, in no particular order.  Enjoy and happy, early holidays.

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Let’s Go For a Ride
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Out for a run
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First snow
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Forward
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Sunset
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Sunset with a beverage
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To the Parthenon!
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Big Sky Country
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Sky Over Yellowstone in August

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Adventurers

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A girl and her millipede, out for a walk
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Phi and Ox-Bow, somewhere over Louisiana
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The Best of New Orleans
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Just passing through

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Traditional Crafting
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Home
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“Did you see the famly of Ammonites on the Beach??”
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May you find what you’re looking for this season and new year.

 

A New Lens

Courtesy, the kitten ( the older one, not the new oneOMGIhaveFOURcats!!!), uh, the camera was knocked off a counter and the lens broke.  The new one is Tamron 18-200mm (on my trusty Canon EOS Rebel T5.)  There’s something wonky with it, as the image jumps occasionally…but I haven’t had the time to take it back in and have it checked.  But it does have a further range than the previous one and I’m getting used to it.

After my temporary blind spot last year, I was hesitant to take pictures.  It just drew too much attention to this new weak spot.  However, my eyes now are as good as they ever were, and the new lens has gotten me a little excited.  Just a few here to show you what has been catching my eye lately.

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The underside of ivy

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Wish Doll

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Sky above Strickers
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Welcome to your CSA!
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Went well with all that candy corn
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Sutter’s Ridge

 

The New Learning Curve

The learning curve when you have a baby is so steep.  All this waiting and puking and months-long migraines and watching That 70s Show.  And then suddenly you’re never alone.  Never.  The missing puzzle piece is here. You hold a baby, wear a baby, eat with the baby on your lap, sleep with the baby on your chest, nurse the baby while buying groceries.  And then, somehow, there’s another baby and you learn to do all the above with the new, tiny one, while holding the hand or the truck or the monkey of the first child’s at the same time.  And now you are certainly, aggressively, never alone.  You go to the bathroom holding the littlest, while the toddler and the cats watch and take turns dropping things in the tub or sink or garbage.

And after a bit of this, it becomes normal.  Neither of them take a bottle.  Absolutely will not.  And you know what, who cares?   You don’t need to go anywhere, be anywhere but here. You are all they need. Neither of them sleep, not alone anyway.  And who can blame them.  Would you want to sleep in a little cage in a big, quiet room, who knows how far away from anyone? I wouldn’t.

When the eldest went to half-day kindergarten, he was ready, and I was not.  My heart and my skin had never felt quite so lonely.  And so the littler one and I filled our time with nonsense until he came home.  I don’t remember how I managed it, but I once went on a field trip with the four-year-old, leaving the two-year-old in someone else’s care, and we both were heart-sick by the time it was over, him asking “When can we go home, mommy?  I miss my Bon-Bon.”  But his missing us diminished as he grew, and mine didn’t. Mine grew each day, each year.  Last year, we made the leap to him in school all day PLUS her in school four half-days.  And this year, they’re both in school full days.  Thirty-six long hours.

And I hate it.  The saving grace is that my son is finally happy at school.  Being a third-grader gives them some choice about who they eat lunch with, where they sit on the bus, what they can check out of the library.  He has a classroom of kids he’s used to, with fewer distractions and noise than previous years.  My daughter loves her teacher, but doesn’t understand why people continue to talk to her or don’t follow the rules all the time.  If they were miserable as they have been in the past, I don’t know what I’d do.

Now, all I have to do is figure out my own plan.

I had a plan.  I was going to tear through the house when they went to school and get rid of all the stuff we don’t use and the too-small clothes, clean all the things I haven’t since I was nesting, in labor with my son eight years ago, fix all the little broken handles and dents and edges.  Empty out the garage.  Take care of the yard and gardens.  Get oil changes and haircuts and make dental appointments.  Train for a half marathon, take swim lessons, go on long bike rides, go back to boot camp regularly.  Meal plan and grocery shop, actually make dinner, and make lunches that didn’t look I raided a gas station on the way to school.

Instead, I have tabs open and emails started on volunteer opportunities at school and a local community food bank.  I can’t seem to pull the trigger to tell people I can help, commit to being anywhere but on this sofa, watching these episodes, lurking on Facebook.  I have time.  I have so much time.  And I have guilt about being a stay-at-home-parent so much so that I volunteer false information to strangers, “Yes.  I’m home with my kids.  BUT I’m going back to work soon.”  Lies.

I let myself be pushed out of the microbiology lab with a sour taste in my mouth from HR and the misogynistic senior scientists.  I was happy to leave.  I got that license to teach science and I liked it when I was there, but then I had kids and the idea of spending my best hours and energy on kids who didn’t care while sending mine somewhere else was ridiculous.

I WANT to be here.  I am lucky enough to be where I want to be.

I’ve been making mistakes, though.  I spend my energy in stupid ways and so the goal, and my ability to be here and engaged with my kiddos when they get off the bus is still sub par.  I’ll get it right.  Eventually.

Do you know what this is like?  I have to open my own doors, people.  There are no small children running, arguing, crying even about who gets to push the button to open the door.  I don’t have to buckle any seat belts.  Or wait for anyone to “do it mineself,” or listen to how unfair it is that someone has a booster seat and it isn’t them.  Do you know how fast I can run an errand now?   Are you not amazed that I can go to the grocery store AND the pet store AND even get gas and no one needs to be bribed or nagged or towed along?

~~~~

Alright, so this is a ramble and I don’t know how to clean it up.  EXCEPT, that I went to see a friend yesterday.  She’s becoming a Life Coach and wondered if any of her friends would be practice clients.  Yes.  She warns me it’s not therapy, that she won’t give advice.  Still sounds good.  And within minutes of talking to her and answering her pointed questions, I’ve figured it out.  I’m nearly choked on tears and words I can not say out loud.

I miss them so much it hurts.  I am scared of not being here for them.  I am afraid of anything that might keep me from them, be it an outside commitment, a lack of energy or… an MS relapse.

I want to find my way back to me, to find something fulfilling *outside* raising my kids….and the reason I won’t commit to anything is fear.  I’m so afraid I wouldn’t have the energy left afterwards for the things that matter.  And, I’m terrified of relapsing and suddenly being unable to complete what I’ve committed to, of even having telling anyone about my MS and admitting even temporary inability.

I don’t know how to move through that yet.

But I’ve got 30-some hours a week to learn how.

Race Report: Door County Triathlon

I’m sure I haven’t mentioned that I did a triathlon this summer, or again this Labor Day weekend.  I kept it pretty quiet.  You know me, so quiet.  So humble.  I was uncharacteristically out of words afterwards…but I’ve finally found them.  Here’s my first race report:

Door County Sprint Tri, July 16th or therabouts, 2016

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First, the swim. I was ready far too early. I paced and did some swim sprints to get my heart rate up. I peed in my wet suit a dozen times (while in the water, of course) before my wave went off, third to last. I wade out with the pack when the buzzer goes.  I dove in and start free-style.  I was a pro.  I put my face in the water.  I had conquered the totally rational, everyone-has-it-even-if-they-lie-fear of sea monsters.  I was sailing along. Five strokes, ten.  But there were all these other people in the water.  Polite ones, sure (thanks, ladies!!), but also people in kayaks telling you stuff and a boat and someone with a megaphone, I think, and it was too much.  It was all pulling at my attention and I just couldn’t stop looking around. None of these conditions are trustworthy! All these moving pieces! So I did the side-stroke for a quarter mile to keep my head up and in the game.  No biggie.  I can do a front crawl at the same pace I can side-stroke.  (I’m doing a Masters class now—and it turns out side-stroke is not an actual thing.  When she says 100 yds, free choice, she doesn’t mean side-stroke.  Wut?)

I fall a bit behind my wave and it gets nicer out in the water.  I am a seal.  I am a sylph of the water.  I am a selkie.  God, this is such a long quarter mile.

I schlepp onto shore and someone calls my name and I flash a million-watt smile. I have been advised to find the camera, let it be my friend. Lo! The very woman who suggested this tri thing seven months ago is the wet-suit peeler right in front of me!  She yells “Oh!  I get this one!!” and she and her dad unzip me and rip that suit off and get me back on my feet in nanoseconds and I’m rubber-legging it up the ramp to my bike.

I don’t remember transition.  I’m already out on my bike, and it is quiet out here on the road.  And the bay is to my right and there’s hardly anyone else on the road and it is amazing.  I laugh out loud and startle myself.  What a charmed life, to have this body, this time, this ability to move, this gorgeous earth to speed across.  Then my left arm goes densely, leadenly, numb.  And my toes start to go pins-and-needles and I start to wonder what I’m going to do next.  It has only been five miles.  I put my head down. I pick up the pace.  I fly into the water station at the turn-around at mile nine and ask everyone for ice. Ice.  Ice! They are confused.  I wheel my way into their supply line and grab ice out of the buckets, cooling bottles of Gatorade, and shove it down my shorts and into my left arm sleeve. The volunteers just goggle at me.  I want to tell them to volunteer at an Ironman after 9 pm and they’ll see it all, then.

Coming back in, I am now completely alone.  There are no more waves coming out and me and my trusty 1995 hybrid are streaming through the countryside.  Med-tent stop.  Beg for more ice.  More stunned and confused volunteers.  Someone gives me a glove with ice tied inside, which I shove, again into my shorts.  Someone else picks up on the urgency and helps me stuff ice into the elbows of my cooling sleeves.

Mile 15.  Three to go.  There is no one to yell “Hybrids for the WIN!!” or, “Go get ’em tiger!” at.  There is no one panting “Good job.  You got this,” as they pass me either.  Just me and the road.  And despair. We soldier through, together.

18 miles, done.  Transition is going fine.  I have this small chest of ice holding my ice vest in it.  I have nailed down the motions of one, two, three, dumping the ice water over my head, zipping up my vest, putting on my shoes…and I can’t tie my shoes.  My fingers will not work.  I look for anyone to help and then can’t remember if officials can help or just other participants or anyone or WTF will I do if I can’t tie my shoes??  And I grab two fistfuls of ice from the pavement and hold them for a minute, and I can finally feel my fingers and tie up clumsily and boom, I’m ready to run.

Good lord.  My body doesn’t work.  I did my due diligence, people.  I did brick workouts.  I know this sensation in my legs is temporary.  But this is ridiculous.  My toes have cramped into tight, little snails.  My left leg is going numb.  My hands are on fire.  I am tired and so freaking pumped.  This jolt hits me–this dichotomy of “Oh boy” and “Yass!” is why there are addicts in this sport.  You are doing this to yourself…and it’s miserable and exhilarating all at once.  I stumble past the big crowds.  I don’t see my family, but I do see a sign for me.  For me??  On this road?  And it’s an inside joke from sixth grade.  SIXTH GRADE!?!  Did you ever once think when you were in sixth grade that 26 years later you would do a triathlon with someone in your classroom??  I didn’t.  I loved it.  I cried and kept running.

The road gets so, so hot.  I finally see people ahead.  I have found my way back to the race.  People are walking, drooping, shuffling.  I shuffle right along with them.  I walk some. I pass a woman with a “Baby On Board” t-shirt and tell her “Hell.  I couldn’t even walk to my mailbox when I was pregnant.” (Partial lie.  I could have.  I just would have vomited if I did.) I thought I would run the whole thing, but nah, son.  Not today.  I can’t uncurl my toes.  I run until I’m just about to vomit, then I walk a minute and try again.  I get the shakes.  I’m so, so hot.  My ice vest has thawed.  I’m dumping water on my feet and head and in my bra at every station.  No weird looks here.  Everyone is wilting.  I’ve set my eye on Sparkle Skirt, who is part of a Team Triumph, a superhero up ahead.  If Sparkle Skirt can push a whole ‘nother person through this, I can push my own damn self.  I yell thanks to those Angels for pushing and for pulling me along, too.  It’s a 5K.  And it feels endless.

I finish.  I don’t see my family.  I fumble and panic with getting my ice vest off, then fall into the ice pool with my finisher medal.

I did it.  It was hard.  My first thought was “Aaaand, never doing that again.”  Only to immediately remember I was already signed up for one in six weeks.

I’m a triathlete.

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