I’ve never really been a fan of math, but there is something about patterns of numbers in life that intrigues me…

Today is June 26, 2020.

I was born on April 26th.

There are 26 miles in a marathon (okay 26.2, but I’m rounding here).

Twenty-six years ago today, I was paralyzed and fighting for my life.

I can’t believe it’s been twenty-six years. Sometimes, it feels like yesterday. Every June, I’m transported back in time to the summer of 1994, when my world changed forever. The warmth and scent of the summer air and the rustle of the breeze through the leaves gives me pause to reflect. I think of the music cassettes I played in my Walkman as I lay in the hospital bed–the songs of hope that carried me through. I remember the people who came to visit me there…my friends, my cousin Shawn, my neighbor Sloane who brought me potato chips. It’s amazing how the positive memories drown out all the fear and pain I was experiencing at the same time.

Most of the time, I look back and I’m grateful of how far I’ve come since then. I praise the Lord for my health, my fitness, and the determination to pursue my dreams. There was a time I couldn’t walk 26 steps, and I could’ve never imagined being able to go 26 miles!

However, I am still human. My mind tends to question, like all others who have been dealt a major illness or some kind of tragedy in their lives…

Why did this happen to me?

What would have been the outcome if I never had CIDP?

Was God angry with me to have been cursed with such an illness?

Could this have been prevented in some way?

I try to turn off the inner dialogue and just accept my fate. After all, my testimony is who I AM. It’s why I RUN. It’s why I CAN run! If I never would have battled CIDP, I would be active, sure, but I probably wouldn’t have a reason to run.

But there is always a green-eyed monster lurking in the shadows of my psyche. Pointing out my peers who not only have their health, but a partner, children, and other things that the effects of my illness have kept from me. The moments I spend not being grateful, I grow angry at the world, and even angry at God. Angry at the drugs that have rendered my body unworthy of affection. Angry at the males of the human population for not giving me a chance. Angry at the “Christian” couples who crowded me out of their social circles because I am single and childless. Angry at myself for falling into depression and apathy.

On the other side of the hope and joy that propels me forward is a toxic root of bitterness fed by the hurt and anger of both my past and present condition. I refuse to let the dark side win.

So, I lace up my Sauconys and train for my third 26.2…which will either be in November, or maybe postponed until next April. Running makes me feel strong and capable of great things. Running holds back the monster inside that threatens to stifle my hope, my joy. It changes my inner dialogue to one of creativity, purpose and victory. Running gives me power to believe in myself.

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