I headed out for a run this morning as the kids’ bus pulled away…I do this a lot, pop in the earbuds and hit the road straight from the bus stop. I often imagine that the other mom’s think I’m a bit nuts, and I imagine the conversation about why I run, which usually starts with people saying “I hate running!”
I used to hate running too…after 2 years of doing it regularly though, it’s become a habit, a compulsion, like brushing my teeth, and I feel strange if I don’t do it. Most days I do not feel like running. If I went just by feeling I would probably not go at all. But my gut tells me to get out there and do it, because I know how easy it is for habits to fall away. If I stop today, tomorrow it is easier to not go, and the next day easier still, until suddenly I’m not doing it at all. In 2 years some weeks I only go maybe twice, but I have managed to not lose the habit and there is definitely that fear that if I stop, I won’t pick it back up again.
I decided to really commit to running after I found out I had polycystic kidney disease. I found this out the same month I got pregnant with Xavier. I remember clearly sitting on the floor of the playroom, talking to my friend Sandra, and totally freaking out. I made the mistake of “Too Much Scary Information on the Internet” and was envisioning myself hauling around 40 pounds worth of cyst-filled kidneys, wearing a floral muumuu as I was wheeled into dialysis, having huge cankles and lying on the couch watching soaps all day as I waited to get a transplant. (See Lisa Simpson imagining life married to Ralph Wiggam…”Mama’s watchin’ her stories!” Shudder.) My first doctor made me cry as he did nothing to dispel those scary thoughts (the fact that I’d just had a baby like, a week before, probably had nothing to do with the crying.). I decided eventually though, that since I couldn’t get rid of PKD, that I might as well work to make the rest of my body as healthy as possible, in the hopes of forestalling my kidneys conking out on me as long as possible. One of the major side effects of PKD is high blood pressure, which obviously increases your chance of heart disease and stroke. Running seemed like the easiest, cheapest way to try and get healthier and more in shape.
Fast forward 7 years and I have just run my first half marathon (!). I’m finally seeing a nephrologist, who, after listening to my history and my dad’s (He’s the one who passed it on to me), tells me that I have the “slow moving” form of PKD…basically if I had the fast moving one I’d likely already be on dialysis and a transplant list. My dad is 67 and in spite of a not-always healthy lifestyle, still not on dialysis. Dr. Nasir told me “You probably have the healthiest kidneys of anyone in my practice!” Woo hoo! Best of the worst, baby, right?
So as I was going through all of this in my head this morning, I found myself saying “Thank you God, that I have the slow-moving form of this disease.” Maybe even “Thanks for this disease”??? Because it has certainly brought about some good things, like all this crazy running, and taught me something along the lines of, say, “I can do hard things”, perhaps??
What a bizarre thing to be thankful for.
And yet what a great mindset to find myself in. (It’s rare…gotta grab it while I can.)
I wonder what weird thing you can find in your life to be thankful for today???