Thursday, February 24, 2011

A change of course

I have been absent from blogging for the past couple weeks, as my life has taken a major change in course.

On Tuesday February 8, my mother suffered a massive stroke. She is only 68 and had no risk factors, so this is a bit of a surprise (this type of stroke-- a subarachnoid hemorrhage--generally does not correlate with heart disease risk factors). She was lucky enough to get medical attention quickly; she had some life-saving procedures and is now in the neuro-ICU of a large hospital, receiving excellent medical care. Her doctors assure us that she is following a pretty standard course of recovery, which is good. She is sometimes but not always responsive to their stimuli and sometimes following commands. The doctors and nurses assure us that many people go through these ups and downs before recovery. We do not know how much recovery there will be, but the chances are very good for at least partial recovery. They tell us that now its critical that she make it to day 21 (we are now at day 17) with no major complications; after that, somewhere between day 30 and 60 we will likely have a better idea of what we are dealing with. So we wait, and keep going up to visit her every day, because they tell us that helping her keep connected to he "outside world" helps her to recover. We do not know if she can always hear us, but she sometimes can. Hearing is usually the last thing to go when people can't do things like move and blink (temporarily).

My parents winter in Florida, which is where this all happened. Their permanent home is in Massachusetts where my sister also lives; I live pretty far away from both in Vancouver, Canada. So my sister and I, with the help of several close friends, are flying back and forth to Florida to be there for my mother and help my father. My father relies on my mother for much of his daily routine and care, so we need to make sure his needs are met as well.

This is by far the most challenging situation I have ever been dealt. But we take what we are given and we move forward.

It will not come as a surprise that my running goals for the spring are now on hold. I am still running regularly, almost daily, although I am not following a regular training schedule. I can often enjoy runs of up to an hour, sometimes more when I am back home in between visits. But running is more for stress relief now, without the pressure to get faster or hit certain paces.

While I am enjoying running without pressure, I also realize how my past running and racing has helped me face this personal challenge. The mental strength I have gained from learning how to push through tough races and training runs has helped me realize I am capable of more than I sometimes think. It is time to use that strength of character to help me meet the challenges of taking care of my mother, my father, myself, and my own family during this difficult time. I will race again when I am ready. And my mother knows how important running is for me, and she would not want it any other way.

I am continuing to log on DailyMile, but will not be updating as regularly here. I will be posting more intermittently here as thoughts come up that relate to my running.

Thanks for reading.


  1. It's great that you are using running to stay so strong for your Mum & Dad. Keep us posted on any developments with your Mum. All I can say is that I am sending you and your family healing vibes and I hope your Mum continues to improve and makes a recovery. Stay strong.

  2. i am deeply touched by this post, as your cousin and as a lover of running (even though i am not running at present) your family was always a bright light at our reunions and i am very grateful to be in much closer contact nowadays. know that you are in our thoughts and prayers daily. you are also a power of example to those of us that have not had such a challenge yet in our lives that not only are you continuing to run and receive solace from it, that you are showing us the theory of 'running will make you feel better/give you peace' etc is true.

    thank you for your perseverance, for taking such good care of your folks, yourself and for letting us know what is going on.

    your cousin, charl

  3. So sorry about your mom. Will keep her in my thoughts.