Sunday, January 4, 2015

Run Mindi, Run!

I log my miles after running faithfully on Dailymile.  It helps keep me accountable and on track to workout three times a week.  I always look forward to my end of the year report indicating how many miles I've run over the past year.  I am proud that in 2014 I ran nearly 300 miles.  It's hard for me to write that, because with my personality, no matter what I accomplish I feel disappointed that I didn't do more. 

2014 really was a great year for racing.  I had a slow start last January due to my surgery but I felt that it was really special to for my first 5k of 2014 to be the run in memory of Tyson Twitchel in March.

In 2014 I beat times on previous races.  I did the Bix for the second time.  My favorite (and fastest) race of the year was the Steamboat in Peoria.  It was a mostly flat but interesting course.  My least favorite race was the Maui Jim Maka Maka run-- it was in August and miserably hot.  They didn't time anyone and the course was terribly boring (think, a frontage road).  The St. Jude Galesburg to Peoria run was once again difficult but so inspiring.  I trekked 13 miles in that run this year, which is one mile more than last year. 

My funnest race was the Screaming Pumpkin 10k, my first "fun run".  It was a Halloween race at night in a Peoria cemetery.  Ash and I both dressed as Minnie Mouse (Minnie Mice!?!?)and ran it together with handheld flashlights.  We talked the whole time and worked together so we didn't fall.  Jeremy and Ryan dressed as Barnie and Fred Flintstone and their appearance alone cracked us up all night. 

I always most look forward to Run Galesburg Run.  It's great that Galesburg has such a special race and it's an all-around fun event with the family.  I am hoping that in 2015 my mom can do it again, as well as see my sissy Tara attempt her first 5k!

Running is hard.  It hurts, it's boring, and it takes me away from my kids.  I keep at it faithfully, though, because it helps me feel both alive and that I'm living my life to the fullest.  I plan to train for my first half marathon in 2015.

There.  Saying it on the blog makes it official!

I also want to try this in 2015:

Happy 2015 to you and good luck on your goals!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


It's one year later.  I'm alive. Truly alive!



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ava's 8!

Holy smokes! My Birdie is 8 tomorrow!  

When Ava was born, many people warned me that my time with her would fly by.  This is entirely accurate. Even after eight years I can't believe that we have been blessed with such a special child.  I don't mean to brag, but I do aim to be honest here:  I truly think she's special.  Ava always sees the best in every person she meets.  She always asks me how she can help people more.  She's my girl who independently requests to volunteer at the local food pantry.  She's a dreamer and a creator and fiercely independent and brave.  There's a fragility and and physical awkwardness to her that are so endearing.  There's also a sense of innocence because we've worked to shelter her from the ugly in this world.  She's an ace reader and is always in tune with everyone else's emotions. She's a silly and oh so messy girl (borderline hoarder) whose favorite foods are buffalo wings, sushi, and avocado.  Her singing voice is beautiful and she can match pitch beautifully.  She's Jeremy's daddy's girl, and her grandma's pug Michener's partner in crime.  She's Alex's pseudo-nanny and my bestie.  Ava's already so much better than I'll ever be; she's an ethereal light.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Everything Changed (Part 7)

Recovery from surgery was rough, that's pretty much a given I guess.  The outpouring of love from my family, friends, and co-workers was amazing and made everything easier to manage.  Jer took two weeks off and acted as my nurse.  Week one was the worst but each week thereafter I felt incrementally better and was able to get up more often.  My official leave from work was from November 11th to January 8th but I did talk my nurse practitioner into letting me return to work a few half days before Christmas.  That was rougher than I anticipated and it reminded me again that my doctor/nurse practitioner really do know best.

In my boredom after surgery I decided to record some of the significant and insignificant daily milestones:

day 3- discharge from OSF. Ride home from Peoria was living hell.

day 5-looked down to the foot of the bed and saw 
this face  and also this one and saw both of these faces every day thereafter during recovery because they rarely left my bed. 

day 5-I took a shower semi-independently

day 6-I ate more than few bites

day 7-I decided to stop pain pills (quickly added Ibuprofen 3x a day)

day 7-posted a FB status update that I was still alive and doing better every day!

day 8- I had my first diet coke, it was quite anti-climactic unfortunately

day 9- I put on a bra, and my nurse returned to work :(

day 10-The first of many meals were delivered from my amazing co-workers 

day 15- I discovered the Ellen show and cried profusely every time she gave money and gifts away to worthy individuals

day 21-Today my staples came out!  Thanks to Dr. Wagner for taking care of this for me rather than having to head over to Peoria to have it done.
day 30-took a trip to Lowe's.  My first real outing!

day 37-The first of many bills arrived in the mail today.  
I paid less than $100 out of pocket. 

During the 2nd week of recovery I was able to spend more and more time upright.  During weeks 3-6 I started trying to do light housework.  Even though I didn't feel well my boredom made me creative and I was inspired by hours spent on Pinterest.  I decided to make some window treatments and shop online. :)

On day 151 I ran my first race since brain surgery, a 5k honoring the memory of Tyson Twitchel, a student of mine that passed away after a car accident.  I cared so much for Tyson and throughout the race I thought of him and this gave me strength.  I have to be honest and say I felt like a superstar for running a 5k after brain surgery 4 months prior.  My friend Cindy took this picture of me during the race. 

Day ?? who knows.  I am no longer counting and looking back at November 12th.   But looky, my hair is growing back nicely, albeit a little curly on that side. (!?!?) 

So, that's it.  That's my journey since everything changed in my family just over one year ago.  It took me a long time to finish this last post, because frankly, I don't think much about my surgery any more.  It's been cathartic for me to record everything here because it's forced me to really work through and mull over my feelings and fears.  Overall I feel so incredibly blessed and lucky.  We are so very fortunate not only that my mom is alive today, but that she saved my life so that my children can still have their mother and Jeremy his wife in their lives.  I also owe tremendous thanks to Dr. Jeffrey Klopfenstein.  I shared in an earlier blog post that I was given the option to take a "wait and see" approach in regards to treating my aneurysm.  I put 100% faith in Dr. Klop's expertise and followed his suggestion to go ahead with the craniotomy very soon.  We know now that my case was more complex than originally thought and I needed three titanium clips rather than one.  If I would have waited on surgery I may not be alive today, I know this and because of it owe so much to Dr. Klop.  Some days the fear creeps in and I worry about the fact that all of my mom's medical problems aren't resolved.  I worry about my sisters developing an aneurysm.  I worry that my children will face the same fate.  I know because of Dr. Klop's wisdom that I very well may develop another aneurysm.  I accept this fate with the added caveat that I also know that I have in my power to live every day to its fullest.  Sure, this means that my filter isn't always in place like it was pre-surgery.  I am a little more outspoken, a little more spontaneous.  I'm also a lot more full of faith, and I thank Pastor Doug Johnson of Christ Church for that, and for coming into my life after I needed it most.  More than anything I know that my future is a gift.  I know if there's anything I want in this life that I have to find a way to do it, to say it, and to make it happen.