Saturday, November 7, 2015

If and when

6 days before a scheduled C-Section, I found out my step mother (my momma) had 2-3 weeks to live. As much as she thought it would be her heart, from the years of living and yelling at my father, it would be cancer to do that fierce woman in.
3 days later I hid all signs of labor in order to dilate in peace and avoid a c-section that not only petrified me ...but delayed me two weeks of travel. 
3 days after Aeva was born, we were driving 13 grueling hours from Augusta Georgia to Miami.  
In the first few days I shut down to anything that didn't relate to learning the little being nuzzled to my chest in her Moby and drinking in the last I would see of my blonde green-eyed mother.
It was when I was standing in the shower at the end of the first week, hot water raining down on me, that I broke apart. 
I felt torn wide open physically and emotionally. I pushed too hard in labor, I had stitches where no one wants stitches, I had an empty swollen womb that still didn't comfortably allow waistlines. My boobs were raw from the first awful days of nursing a child with a bad latch, and tight from engorgement. I hadn't slept. I hadn't eaten. I both ached to hold my infant even then but wished my arms would hold just themselves up a little while. 
Instead my shoulders sagged and my world crumbled. My momma was leaving this earth and it grieved me, but I had brought my Aeva into this world against so many odds and for that I rejoiced. One tinged the other.  I cried hard for all the destruction in and out of my body and wondered if I would ever be able to come back from this desolation. If I would ever not feel like I had just been ripped from the middle up. 
I wondered if I could mend. 
Nearly 4 years ago a decade long marriage ended and I was suddenly irrevocably on my own with two small girls and zero answers. The only thing I knew was that my daughters needed proximity more than I needed pride or protection. I drove to Maryland from Texas. I wondered if the drive would ever end. In Maryland I quickly scrambled for a job after 3 years of being a stay at home mom. I hadn't finished college, I didn't have much money, a reliable car or home, nor much sanity left to speak of. I wondered if I would ever get hired. I wondered if I would make enough. How I would afford lawyers for two court I would manage two children full time as well as a job and mounting legal concerns. I wondered if I would survive. 

2 years ago I had massive orthopedic surgery. 
I'm pretty sure that if I wasn't so thickly drugged up when the nurses at Ellwood City hospital tried to wake me after surgery and I had some control of my tongue and lips I would of been yelling:
Instead all I got out were unintelligible moans of pain and discomfort. My whole left leg had been jigsaw puzzled and I think they tried jamming the wrong pieces together. 
To think the night prior I had promised myself I would run a 5k. Right then I doubted if I would even walk. 
The first time I met Steve I was 3 weeks post op and had just had two sadistic nurses clip and yank 60 steel staples from my two incisions. 
I was not a happy camper. 
Steve was way too chipper. 
What's more, he looked entirely fresh out of school and eyed my chart like a geek with a brand new science kit. 

'Fuck,' I thought. 'he's never seen this kind of surgery'

"Well, I've never seen this kind of surgery but I did a little research!"
Nailed it. 

Day one was full of measurements and briefing. 
While Steve ran me through range of motion measurements, or lack there of, we talked about time lines. 
How long on zero weight-bearing on the op leg?
When can range of motion be increased? 
When will partial weight-bearing be allowed? 
How long will you need to be on crutches? 
And then a new one: 
"What's your end goal?"

No one really asked that up until then. I mean, I had surgery in order to treat and cure AVN (avascular necrosis) in my femoral head. It's not really something you come out of with a goal. That's kind of the surgeons thing. You know: My end goal is to not cut up the wrong leg and manage to stitch it all up the right way. 

"I want to run a 5k."

I remember Steve unflinchingly nodding his head and smiling. 

Dude is way too damn positive. 

I wondered if he'd realize how absurd my goal was. I wondered if he forgot how torn up I was. 

The days that therapy was its worst, I sat in the shower at night and cried with self pity. Then self loathing. Then exhaustion.

I wondered if this roller coaster would stop. If I would feel normal and able. If I could overcome. 

"Not if, but when."

Steve always said it to me. 
"A 5k is not a matter of IF but WHEN you run it. And when you do, I want to see it"

July 2015 14:55 minute miles 
October 2015 12:53 minute miles 

Today I ran my 2nd race. In the cold rain with the wind saying "NO" and the ground proving difficult. 
I ran along side my childhood friend Evelyn, having flown to see me..whom I had wondered if I'd ever see again. 
I walked and ran and pushed through doubt and pain. 
I ran thru the Finish Line and straight for the can.
Each time I've had sight of a race's finish I get so excited I spontaneously gag and dry heave. I'm sure the camera man in my face caught me diving into the crook of my elbow hoping to staunch any mess. 
Like an overexcited dog, I get so worked up I hurl. While everyone around me thought I had simply pushed that hard for time I had merely pushed so hard for my When. I laughed between heaves and sank to my heels with simple happiness. 

Two almost feels better than one. It feels like continuity. Like healing. Like surviving. Like overcoming. 

Like...when I drove out all the if's.