Sunday, April 20, 2014

Riding out the storms of life

As we do every week, my husband and I went for a ten mile pre chemo run on Monday. It had snowed over night and was cold to start, but the snow was truly beautiful. I snapped this picture of Pikes Peak from the car on the way to the trailhead.

I had treatment number 11 after our run. I tried to nap that afternoon but sleep was elusive. 
I had a couple of difficult days this week. I am feeling really tired and run down. I had some muscle aches and pains that were keeping me awake at night and causing some discomfort during the day. Steve also got sick this week. He never gets sick. I know he was feeling poorly and I was worried about picking up his illness because he had a nasty cough. I missed one of my daugter's activities this week because I just did not feel up to attending. It bothered me that I felt unwell, and I felt badly about missing out on an important day in my child's life.

I know I am making progress towards my treatment end date. It is a whole lot closer than it was in January. It still seems far enough away and the prospect of having a couple more months of feeling not like myself is emotionally draining. I want to feel like myself NOW. I am growing impatient.

Wednesday morning, I was feeling so frustrated that I decided I needed to go somewhere beautiful. I only had about 90 minutes, so I chose the Garden of the Gods. I was alone, so the only person I had to keep up with was myself. I could run, walk, hike and just enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Looking at the rock formations and Pikes Peak always leaves me feeling amazed at the spontaneous beauty of our surroundings. I can never leave the Garden in a bad mood.

On Saturday, I met up with three other running friends. We had planned all week on meeting on Saturday. Since I had not been feeling great, we waited until Friday evening to finalize our plans. We decided to start off in Stratton Open Space and then run through some of the trails in Cheyenne Canon. All last year, while I was preparing for races. I felt like those trails were my home away from home. I love Cheyenne canon. It is my favorite place to run in Colorado Springs. Leading up to my races last year, I did a weekly all day run there. I cannot remember the date of my last run there, but it was likely in September of 2013. 

Saturday morning, Tracey, Meghan, John and I met up at did a 14 mile loop. In my pre surgery and pre chemo days, I would have run every step of the way. Right now I just cannot do it. There was enough hiking the uphills to make me feel a little discouraged. I had warned the group ahead of time that I would likely be doing some significant hiking. But still, it bothered me. I used to be able to run the  all of the trails we had run and more. Somewhere on the Columbine trail, I looked up and out. The scenery is so spectacular. I thought about how much I just loved it there, and how happy I was to be back, no matter how slow. I felt the sting of tears coming to my eyes, but they were tears of happiness and gratitude. I was suddenly not feeling sorry myself or frustrated anymore. Now I was just feeling so thankful to be back where I loved to be, no matter the circumstances. 

I love these ladies. They are tough, smart and funny and a pleasure to be around.

This week, I want my daughters to remember as they grow up that they will be tested in life. There will be circumstances that will be incredibly difficult to deal with. They will want to run away or hide under the covers some days. I want them to learn how to find peace of mind in the storm. That peace will never come from a pill or a bottle. People use substances to temporarily mask pain. In the short term, that may make you feel better or forget your troubles, but over the long term substances will never solve your problems. In fact, those things may significantly add to your pain. Find what brings peace to your heart and mind. I find it by exploring the beauty of nature. That is what calms my mind. You may find it in yoga or meditation or cycling or dancing or knitting or sewing. I encourage you to find out what it is that soothes your soul and practice it regularly. In the eye of the storm, that ability to bring yourself to a place of internal contentment will help you ride out the rough waters. 


  1. Tonia, it was such a pleasure visiting with you and Steve out on the trail today. After reading about your cancer on Pikes Peak Sports, we were hoping to see you guys out today! Your story resonated so strongly with me - all of the reactions and emotions and physical challenges - I just happen to be a little farther down the cancer trail than you right now. You will get there! You will get through the chemo before too long - time passes so quickly, really. Once my knee allows, I would be honored to go slog out a trail run with you sometime (ha - your slog will be fast compared to my slog!) :-) Keep your hope up and remember there are many people who are keeping you and your family close to heart in warm thoughts and prayers.

    1. I am so grateful that we ran into each other today. I can't begin to tell you how much that brief conversation meant to me. Please stay in touch, I would love to get together for a run or even a hike. I am learning to enjoy the slower pace right now!