Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Bird's Eye View

Today was a big day for me. I accomplished something I would never have even imagined for myself. I ran the Savannah Bridge Run today. I only did the 5k but I am so proud of myself. And in a few months time I plan to do the impossible again and I contemplated on waiting to share this until after I completed my half marathon but I feel the persistent urge to share it now. I've come so far in the last 5 years that it doesn't really seem real most days.

Most of you probably know that I used to be a wildland firefighter back when I graduated high school but I had to quit because I tore my ACL in 2010. I made a quick and full recovery from that but later in the winter of 2010/11 I came down with what I thought was just a cold. It didn't go away for months though. I had received my mission call to serve an 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and so rather than going back to fire I took a job building barb wire fences in the desert of Utah because the job duration was shorter. That "cold" I had caught only seemed to get worse as the summer wore on and soon I was having trouble even making it up the stairs to get to the front door let alone out the front door to carry posts and string barb wire up. When I finally felt that I could no longer ignore what was happening I went to the doctor. A week before I was to leave for my mission they told me I had mono and I needed to delay. They would test again in 6 weeks and if it was no longer active in my system I would be able to leave on my mission. Long story short, I was cleared but my health was never the same and I barely survived 9 weeks in the MTC when it was determined my health was too poor to continue to serve. I was beyond devastated but I met Riker a few months and crazy turns later and so I full faith in the Lord's timing. 

Riker and I got engaged after having only dated for...a short time... and I moved back to live with my parents in Oregon to try and get help from my doctor back home before the wedding. My health problems turned out to be so much more than just mono. We actually didn't solve anything until June 2013 and up until then I was having severe joint and muscle pain and fatigue. That summer I slept all the time and lost a ton of weight because I either didn't have the energy to eat or what I ate made me sick. I have one very vivid memory from the months leading up to our wedding and one from after we were married. Which is surprising considering how much of a fog I was in most of the time--especially once they started me on medications. Riker came to visit me at one point and I actually don't remember almost any of the visit.

The first memory was back in Oregon. I had woken up at my usual time since being sick which was around noon. I knew I needed to get dressed before my mom got home so I could say that I had accomplished something. The pain was so bad by that time that I had resorted to only wearing button up or zip up shirts because I couldn't pull a regular shirt over my head. However, that day the pain was so severe that I couldn't manage to even button the shirt up. I don't even remember starting to cry but when my mom got home I was sitting on the bed sobbing. I'm honestly embarrassed to even be sharing this because as a 21 year old it is quite mortifying for your mom to catch you sitting on your bed crying and unable to dress yourself let alone telling everyone on the internet it happened. She very lovingly helped me get dressed and took me to the ER. Even now I'm so overwhelmed by her love that it makes me tear up. The PA working at the ER refused to actually see me and when we insisted she came in and called me a liar to my face and refused to treat me telling me I was simply seeking narcotics and clearly wasn't exercising enough. I left the ER that day devastated. I felt fairly well doomed to that same scenario on repeat for the rest of my life.

The second memory was not long after Riker and I had been married. Once again, I was embarrassed when I was found crying. The pain had gotten so bad again that I was no longer able to lift my arms to wash my own hair. I was so humiliated and mortified to have to ask my husband of only a few short weeks to wash my hair for me that I sat in the bathroom and quietly cried instead. He felt prompted, and probably a little worried at how long I had been in the bathroom, and came to check on me. This sweet manly man, who is blue collar through and through, whose hands were callused from years of hard labor who can fix anything you ask him to lovingly sat me down, washed my hair, and fixed my broken heart and body--for weeks. Every time I recall that memory I am so humbled. Riker truly is a man of God and the love that he has for me amazes me on a daily basis. True love comes in a small cramped bathroom with your newlywed husband sitting on the toilet and you sitting in the tub like a little child and crying while he washes your hair. And never once did he complain. I love that man more than I could ever describe.

I tell you those two memories to show you where I was. The lowest I had ever been in my life; incapable of accomplishing the most menial of tasks.

And then today as I ran over the top of that bridge, never stopping once, I had a bird's eye view of how far I have come. I had given up on myself repeatedly before but Riker, my family, and most importantly Heavenly Father never had and never will. They have shown me that I am capable. That sometimes we need a little help and that is ok because we can come back stronger than we ever thought possible. Now, I will never give up on myself either. Today I achieved my impossible and I plan to do it again. And again and again. Because my body that once was so weak I couldn't dress myself or wash my own hair is no longer weak. I am strong. I am beautiful and capable and will achieve the impossible every day. Because I am unstoppable.