Monday, September 20, 2010

The Amazing Human Body & Philip

I typed this post "in my head" many times on Saturday while I completed an 18 mile training run and I'm sure it made much more sense then. : ) 18 miles...the farthest I have ever run. It was exhilarating...yet I was drained, both physically and emotionally. I do have to admit I was prepared. I had my Gu, water, banana, oatmeal cookie and some incredible running buddies! What I wasn't prepared for was how one person can feel every tiny movement in their own body...every twinge, tweek, ache and pain. I also wasn't prepared for the roller coaster of emotions I would feel during a 3+ hour run.

About 12 miles into the run I literally couldn't believe that I was running 18 miles. For those that do not know I have never run in my life. I started running last July 2009 to get back in shape. Will and I had both cycled with TNT but not run and we had decided to sign up for the White Rock Relay in December '09 to celebrate Allie's 15th year in remission. I remember asking him, "Do you seriously think I can run 5 miles?"

I had dreamed of running. Laugh if you will but I had...I could see myself running and crossing a finish line, but never had the nerve to try. Was my body even built to run? Will I have the time? Why would someone run when they can use a bike or a car? Yet, I wanted to try and I was determined. My first experience was feeling how liberating it was...the rush of blood your muscles get, the sweat down the side of your face and the sound of your feet striking the ground. I can remember the night I came home July '09 after a 2 mile run in our neighborhood and told Will, "I ran the entire way...I can't believe it...I actually ran the entire 2 miles...I did not walk!"

So here I am many, many miles later...simply humbled and amazed by what the human body and the human spirit can accomplish together! Which leads me to Philip...

On Saturday I started off at 5:30am with Robin to run a 4 mile loop then the team met at 6:30am. Our coaches give instructions, we talk about fundraising and then we have a Mission Moment. A mission moment is when someone on the team talks about their connection to blood cancers and/or why they are involved with TNT. This morning Suzanne spoke. And as she spoke a five year old boy along with his little brother played in the background. It was hard for me to keep my attention directed at her because I was fixated on him...his joy, his smile and his laughter. Plus I was distracted by the first sentence that Suzanne spoke, "Hi, I'm Suzanne, this is my husband John and then she started naming their children... ALL 7!" Yes, I said they have 7 children! Suzanne went on to tell us that Philip was diagnosed with ALL on March 21, 2008, the same week she was giving birth to their youngest child.

Philip, like most children, battling leukemia will receive 3 years of treatment to ensure that he is and remains cancer-free. All this was familiar to me, but what really pulled at my heartstrings was that in December of 2009 Philip was diagnosed with Avascular Necrosis (AVN) in his hip. AVN is a disease where there is cellular death (necrosis) of bone components due to interruption of the blood supply. Without blood, the bone tissue dies and the bone collapses.

From Philip's caringbridge site which Suzanne updated on September 10...Philip's doctor states, "there is not much more hip to collapse but there were more signs of bone death in his femur. The good news is that his range of motion is really good and he’s been in very little pain. The physical therapy really helped with his range of motion."

Suzanne goes on to tell the team that due to the AVN (which is a result of high dose steroids) Philip's activity has to be runing, jumping, recess! My heart running for a 5 year old? Tears streamed down my face. I have two small children...not much younger than Philip and all they want to do is play at recess. I watched Philip in the background throwing a ball to his little brother and more tears. In time, Suzanne told us that hopefully Philip's bone will rejunvenate after all his treatment is complete in 2011.

Again, our amazing bodies! And Philip's amazing spirit!

So I went out for a 6 mile loop with 4 teammates...we were inspired, we were motivated and we are determined to kick cancer's butt. We ran strong for Philip.

We returned to the parking lot to refuel. Then myself, Robin and Nicole headed back out for the last 8 miles. I remember we go, can I do this? As I approached mile 12 and had 6 more to go...tears welled in my eyes. I was hot and tired. I don't think my running partners noticed because we had so much sweat pouring down but I cried and I fought to put one foot in front of the other...for Philip and all my other honored heros.

May God bless Philip and his family and know that they are an inspiration to so many others on our TEAM!

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  1. Great post! It made me cry just thinking about it.

  2. Great job Dianna! You are amazing!!! I am where you were at a year ago - ca i run 2 miles without stopping!?!

  3. You have come so far, Dianna! You should be so proud of yourself! Thanks for working so hard and making a difference.

    Take care!