"He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything."
A lot of people ask me why I run.
Answer: Because I can.
When I was 12 years old, my world changed. I was no longer the pre-teen girl who strutted around in her cute bikini top and ate ice-cream at the pool with her friends. Rather I was the 12 year old on total bed rest, pumped full of drugs and praying for an end.
My heart no longer worked. More specifically, my Mitral Valve. I was in congestive heart failure and full of an infection known as Rheumatic Fever. Surgery was necessary, but not an option due to the severity of the infection running through my body. I waited, in bed, from May until October, when surgery was considered safe. Heart Surgery-- every young girl's dream come true.
But, if you take a walk through Children's Hospital, heart surgery seems minor. Heck, I felt like a wimp to only be having heart surgery. The cancer patients, those crippled with life-ending disease, the babies who who were kept alive by tiny tubes and monitors-- those were the tough ones. Me and my heart surgery were no big deal. Seriously.
My dad once said, "If you think you're having a bad day, take a walk through Children's Hospital."
So true. Kids aren't supposed to get sick- let alone die. Parents aren't supposed to keep vigil over their child's hospital bed. It isn't natural and it's not right. But, it happens-- everyday. Go walk through that hospital. I dare you. Your problems will seem like small potatoes.
I went back to Children's Hospital for a check-up on Tuesday, with the gentle prodding of my close friend and family. For the most part, I resist going to the doctor. I'm afraid. But, for the first time in two years, I returned to the same miraculous place that heals children and keeps families together.
Thankfully, I got a perfect bill of health. Not that I was expecting anything less, but it's always good to be reaffirmed. I was told that I am the healthiest patient they have ever seen in the cardiology department- and it was a sincere declaration. I was cleared to run my half-marathon and a full marathon and to do anything else that my strong heart desired.
Am I grateful? You bettcha. Am I happy? I'm elated.
Fourteen years ago, my life was changed. Having heart surgery wasn't always the easiest thing, but it's probably been the biggest blessing in my life. Through trials I have learned perseverance and through disappointment I've come to understand victory.
I will be the first Children's Hospital, cardiac patient to run a half-marathon or a full marathon.
There's one for the record book.
Why do I run?
Answer: Because I can.
*My sweet mama (she's the lovely lady in the photo) and I celebrated my wonderful appointment by doing a little shopping. How about these spring colors? Pretty, huh?