eleven days

The nerves. It’s kind of debilitating. I should be going through course maps, starting to pack, looking up what to do and when to do it. But every time I start, I get so nervous I have to take a pee break. Ok, fine. Poo break, ok?

As time nears – 11 days. ELEVEN. I think about all that I have done these last several months – since January when I began clean eating (that lasted like 90 days) and 100 days of running. I think about the time, the miles, the self-talks. All the things. And I am in awe. I am in awe of what my body has been capable of doing. I am in awe of what my brain has told my body to do – and it’s followed through. Now, clearly, I still have the entire race to do – but let’s just pretend for one minute (because, poo breaks, remember?) that I’ll totally finish the race.

I am thankful. Thankful for this body. Thankful for this opportunity. Thankful for everyone who has donated to Team World Vision on my behalf (I reached my $$ goal: clean water for 100 individuals, for a lifetime, yo). I am thankful for my coach, my team, my friends, and thankful for my family.

I am THANKFUL for my husband. For a husband who is so incredibly busy #surgeoning but one who has been the most supportive and the most encouraging. 16 years ago when we started dating, we didn’t have these goals, we didn’t know this about ourselves and each other. But here we are, 16 years later – supporting one another in the best way possible. Speaking truth and love to one another when our self doubts and fears creep in. You guys. I have all the emotions. Amp that up by a thousand and there’s me in the thick of it. How this man can even understand a word I am saying is beyond me. But he does. And he combats my crazy and my ugly. I love him so – he and our babes, they are the best of me.

In 11 days when I start that race? I’ll be thinking of him. I’ll be thinking of our children. I’ll be thinking of (all the things because it might just take me all 17 hours, that is, if I finish) how God has showered me with so much love in my life. So many opportunities. So many dreams. So many goals. I cannot wait to reach that finish line. I cannot wait to celebrate this massive goal with the ones I love the most. I cannot wait to lay down and eat everything and not get up for a week (just kidding, kids). I cannot wait to get my obligatory tattoo and then stash my wetsuit and bike away (possibly for years). I cannot wait. Because in eleven days, at 7am, I start the biggest physical, mental, and emotional challenge of my life (aside from #parenting, of course). And my truest loves will be there for me and with me.

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Love

“an act of terror and an act of hate”

That’s what this is.

Yesterday morning, when I learned of what happened, I sat in silence. I watched my two girls play, giggle, make a mess of things around me. I thought about the lives that were brutally taken. I thought about the families who lost their loved ones all too soon. I thought about the moms and dads. I thought about the hate that must have been burning in the gunman. The hate that was so much and so big that he went and opened fire and murdered and injured over 100 individuals at an LGBTQ night club. I thought about the hate and ignorance from people who immediately began to disparage and belittle.

A day later and while there are a million things running through my head – as I read posts about this massacre, this hate crime. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m afraid. I’m sorry. So incredibly sorry. I’m sorry for both communities – for my dear LGBTQ family and friends. An entire group, community was attacked, but let’s be clear, this group is attacked every day. Each time we say something homophobic. In a world that allows laws to be made based on fear and hate of a group of people. It happens every day.

For my dear Muslim family and friends – who at every turn feel like they need to make sure strangers know that they are not the radical Islam the media and our culture blankets them with. For folks who fear for their lives because of how they dress or who they praise.

I’m sorry.

I’m so sorry that we have bred a world that hates anyone and everyone that is different. I’m so sorry that we judge and fear and vilify you. I’m sorry that the hatred is so real that while two communities are devastated, we disgustingly make idiotic comments about abominations and guns and God’s will.

Because, the God that I believe, he loves. He loves Every. Single. One. Of us – JUST as we are.

So, in my response that will for sure fall short – I want to talk. I want to hold. Secondary trauma is real, so I am here.

And finally, let’s not just react. Let’s not just put out these fires. Let’s be proactive. This shouldn’t happen. Let’s stand up for policies and laws that protect. Let’s stand in solidarity with every group that is attacked and marginalized. Let’s shout for those who cannot be heard. Let’s love. Because, LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE.

 

I’m nuts.

About a mile away from home. Probably less than that. Just sitting here in the grass. Crying a little behind my shades. In my running gear. A big salty mess.

I sent a friend a message, “omg. I’m going to pass out”. A friend that gets my crazy. You see, Sean’s home with both girls and everyone’s napping. Sean just got home from working 32(?) hrs at county trauma (gun control, please.) so I could go out and do my run for the day. Just a short one- but a hard one.

A few minutes after stopping I felt like puking and passing out. For a hot second I thought, maybe that balloon in my head blew and I’m actually dying. And then I started to cry because I scared myself. Such an idiot. Anyhow, messaged a friend in case I did go missing, I wanted someone to know that I passed out. But in case it was nothing, didn’t want to wake Sean from his first sleep in over 32 hours.

Omg. These are the crazy things that go through my head.

Doctoring

Surgeon’s wife. Sounds so glamorous. But for those that live this- particularly with little ones at home, you know that sometimes it feels more like residency widow (Sean HATES when I say that. Sorry babe.). But yesterday, yesterday as I sat at work waiting for a phone call from Sean to hear where he matched for fellowship, I realized this was it – this was why it’s worth it. It is these moments of tangible success, tangible celebration (for me).  Because I don’t understand the successes in the OR (whipple what?). I don’t understand the celebrations of a seamless list run-through (is that even what they call it in the morning when they do rounds?). But this, this fellowship match. This, I understand.

Sean and I married almost 10 years ago. TEN. We married the summer before he started med school and I was starting my masters of social work program. I finished that same school year. He finished 4 years later and now is entering his seventh and last year of general surgery residency. Yesterday, he matched at Stanford for his cardiothoracic surgery fellowship – which is another 2 years. So basically, all of our married life, he’s been in training.

I say this all the time. It’s because I MEAN IT. I don’t know how anyone does this. I don’t understand what is in each of these doctors that pushes them to do this day in and day out. Year after year. After year. I have to believe that this is their calling – they were put on this earth to do this incredibly intelligent, beautiful, life giving, hard work. Because I see Sean. I see him work harder than anyone I know. I saw him go to school, I saw him study HOURS on end – I still see him study for cases. I see him get up at 4am. I see him get home sometimes past 11pm. I see him switch days and nights for different services. I see him lose weight on busy services. I see him come home after 7pm, give all of his attention to his girls, and then work on presentations or write book chapters/articles after everyone is in bed. I see him not get to eat or drink during the work day because there are patients to be seen and cared for. I see his hurting eyes when a patient isn’t doing well. I see his eyes light up when the girls want nothing more than to be held by their daddy. I see him.

You know, I take doctors for granted. I have sat in quite a few offices these last several months. I get annoyed if they’re late. I get irritated if I can’t schedule something during my window of free time. But then I remind myself that these doctors, they are someone’s family. Duh. Because Sean has a family. He has 3 girls. And we miss him. All. The. Time. But as his life partner and mother to his children, I would not change his job, his career, his path, his calling. For anything.

A couple weeks ago, I was irritated that it was 9pm and Sean wasn’t home yet – he was on a service where he was typically home by 7pm the latest. So, of course this night, I made plans for us to go do something. (NEVER MAKE PLANS because those are the days that end up with emergency cases.) I don’t even remember what time Sean got home that night – but he so kindly told me that a patient came in with a major issue and it was the right thing to do to stay and assist this patient. (Have I told you how ethical this man is?) That’s the kind of doctor I want. That’s the kind of doctor/person/dad/husband Sean is.

Let’s be honest though, this isn’t easy. I sincerely hope no one thinks being a doctor or marrying a doctor makes life easier (financially or otherwise. He’s a resident, people. And we have a MOUNTAIN of debt.). Adding our precious little people into the mix makes it all the more hard (much more enjoyable too). O says things like, “where is daddy”, “is he working? again?”, “i miss my daddy”. These are hard sentences to swallow. But then there are moments of, “daddy’s a doctor. And when I grow up up up, I’m going to be a doctor”, “daddy is a doctor and he fixes people”, “I’m getting bigger so I can fix people too”. Bless that little GIANT heart. Because that’s exactly right. Daddy is a doctor and he fixes people. Literally, cuts them open and works some magic with those hands and brain and breathes new life. I don’t question for a second – I absolutely know that this is what God intended for him. And I could not be more proud, more in love, more grateful for him.

Turning 33.

As I get older, the less I care about what people think. This is such a good thing for me. I’ve always cared WAY too much what people thought of me, of my family, my clothes, my hair, my teeth, my work, my size… everything. I’d like to think as I age, I am becoming wiser.

This last year has been full of lessons on love, grace, and acceptance.

We had the privilege of bringing new life into this world – Lucy Amalia. Our #giantbaby. She is going to be the athlete in the family. This sweet almost 1 year old, she is a strong one (strong in physical strength and will) and she is fearless (likes to jump out of your arms type fearless). Her smile and goofy antics has brought so much joy into our lives. O adores her little sister – and L adores her big sister. To be a witness of their mutual love and adoration often leaves me speechless and in tears. I love their love.

It seems that quite a bit of my 32nd year of life was spent in hospitals and doctors’ offices (and being subjected to weird contraptions that told medical professionals nothing about my passing out condition). Pregnancy and delivery will put you in hospitals and doctors offices. But also, unknown health issues do that to you too. Apparently, as you age, your body decides to think on its own and do weird things. As I started to lose control over what was happening in my brain, I took control over my physical health. I regulated my eating habits and started working out…even more than I already was (yes, I realize how lucky I am that I can do this). I am officially back to my pre-O weight and size. Ok, maybe even pre-pre- O weight and size (although, I really can’t remember what size or weight I used to be, I just know nothing fits). I mentioned before of that quiet dark place I was sitting in, well, taking control over something helped me climb out of it. Think what you will (remember I said I was getting better at not caring?), but taking control over my physical health helped shine some light into my life (don’t worry, I’m still being healthy, ok?).

I hit a low point a couple months ago when my thoughts were centered on death; me dying, S dying, the kids dying… accidents happening… I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about dying and the what ifs: what if we both die and orphan our kids. What if I’m out with the kids and my aneurysm blows, what will happen to the kids. What if my aneurysm blows while I’m swimming and I drown. What if I have a blackout episode while I’m bathing the girls (did you notice they were kind of stinky for a while?). What if. What if. What if.

Friends. Having friends (and the best husband) who are compassionate, understanding, and gifted in counseling. They are gold. They helped me feel normal. They told me my thinking was normal when all I felt was abnormal. They gave me the gift of grace. (You know who you are. I cried to you and said crazy things to you and you loved me. Thank you.)

Because seriously, I’m 32. Ok, 33 tomorrow. But, I’m 33, seemingly healthy, and training for an Ironman. I’ve done everything right (ok, except when I drank too much at a party, slipped and broke my teeth. Remember that? Yup. Still dealing with the aftermath of that. Just add it to the-what the hell list of year 32.) But I care about people, I feed the homeless… I house the homeless. I love my family. I would give my life for my hubs and children and probably other people too. I try to treat people the way I want to be treated. (This is me whining.) But aneurysm and weird blackout sessions -they don’t discriminate. They don’t care how great or kind or awesome you are. It just happens. So it’s taken some time, but I’m starting to accept it. I’ve even purchased a medical alert type bracelet (a cool athletic one, mind you). Because if this right posterior cerebral artery brain aneurysm (that’s what it says on said cool bracelet) does blow, I want medical professionals working on me to know and to check that first (I learned this from grey’s anatomy when dereck died. He knew what was wrong but no one else did! He DIED. See, TV is useful.)

So, this is my long drawn out reflection of year 32. Thanking the good Lord for the gift of L, if not for her, this year would have been tainted with awful medical scare memories and thoughts of dying.

But, year 33, please be good to me. Be good to my family, me, and the people I love. (This is me praying, pleading to God, really.) Because truth is, I’m tired. Exhausted. So, let’s pray together that nothing extraordinary happens this year – except that I finish Ironman Wisconsin in less than 17 hours. (Shameless plug, donate here:  http://www.teamworldvision.org/participant/awightman and provide clean water for people – because water is life.)

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Because no post is a good post without a photo of these two loves. Here we are, breathing new life in the everyday life…in San Francisco.

being known

I am in awe of the out-pouring of kindness today. As we continue to sort through these health issues, there is something to be said about being known and being heard.
Today’s appointment went well. This second opinion was very different from the first one- but for now, we will take it! I was recommended to follow up in 6 months with an MRI and another appointment and go from there. He also said he was “ok” with me training for the Ironman! Score! I am determined to be cautiously optimistic.
Thank you all for your kind words and prayers.

a thousand words

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Photos on a card or social media can make you look perfect. It can make a family look perfect. 

A photo is worth a thousand words but the words that are missing here are plenty.

On October 13, I passed out while holding Lucy in my arms. We both ended up on the ground somehow- no one but Olivia was around and all she could tell me was, “mommy fall down”. We took an ambulance ride to the emergency room. Everything seemed to check out for the both of us and that was that. I was told to follow up with my internist, and being the obedient person that I am, I went. Several tests, appointments, second opinions, and thousands of dollars later, we seem to now be dealing with 2 separate issues. Possible partial seizures- maybe the cause of my episode and an incidental finding of a baby aneurysm. 

A lot of emotions, a lot of medical jargon, a lot of unknown. 

I’ve been sinking into a quiet dark place. But I’m calling it out now. I am refusing to let this pull me under. Because there’s a blessed life to live. There are two amazing girls who need me to be the best mom I can be. There is the most giving best friend and hubs who needs me. There are goals, ambitions, plans. There are the everyday seemingly small but big tasks; there are kisses to give, there are butts to wipe, first words and steps to witness, there are the I love you’s to say and receive. There are races to run, homeless people to see, hear, and touch. There is a God to thank and believe. 

So, I’m calling this darkness out. 

So, pray. Pray for my second opinion appointment this afternoon in regards to my teeny tiny aneurysm. Pray that I can get it clipped without open surgery. Pray that I stay above water. And pray that I remain full of faith in the face of my worst nightmares.