Relentless forward movement. Take the challenge one step at a time. Make small goals. Breathe. Little did I know how literally I would be taking my own ultra advice again less than two months after my first hundred miler. But this time I'm not the one running the ultra.
My dad is.
And its not an "ultra" in the running sense of the word. In fact, a hundred miler would be easy compared to the challenge that my dad and our family is enduring right now at this very moment.
About two weeks ago, my dad underwent a stem cell transplant in hopes of being able to extend his life after being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (a rare blood cancer) just a little over a year ago. He weighed his risks, his age, and his health and got the OK from his doctors to do this procedure. A gambler by nature and a very bright man he took a calculated risk. He knew what he was laying on the table when he decided to go through with this.
Today he is in MSICU in critical condition.
Fighting for his life.
His lungs are failing him. He has serious inflammation which the doctors are still trying to find the source of. So far they haven't been able to grow the results they were expecting from different lung cultures. His lung sacs are filling with fluid and he is in an induced coma-like state and breathing on a ventilator.
Its been almost a week since my dad went into ICU and about three days since he last spoke to me in a conscious state. His breathing was extremely labored like he was running at race pace, but he had some energy to speak in very small spurts between hefty sucks of air. My most recent memory of him conscious was him trying to smile at my mom and mimic kisses with his pale chapped lips.
He's not gone, but we miss him terribly.
I'm trying to be the rock for my mom and brother right now. I'm the medical information secretary and translator keeping track of dad's daily vitals, stats, regimines... and progress. If there is any. I'm trying to hold the family together by keeping them informed and pulling them in for reality checks every now and then. My job is not easy.
My life right now is a pair of dice which has been shoved in a jar, shook up violently, and rolled out. I'm never sure if it will be a high day or a low day. My routine which used to consist of making school lunches, going to work, attending soccer gamess, school functions and the gym has been chopped up and rearranged into blocks of hospital visits with my dad, overly-diligent hand washing and "gowning up" (gowns, masks, gloves), phone calls and texts to family and friends, meetings with doctors, and when I can manage, a tiny bit of work done via my laptop on the chair just outside of the Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit.
I never know how long my day will be or how much sleep I will get, but the one thing that is helping me get through this is my ultra training...
Relentless forward movement. Take this challenge one step at a time. Get to the end of each day, refuel, and move on. Visualize and breathe. Kill the bitch in my head, keep it together and stay strong for my mom, my brother and most importantly... my dad.
I'm trying to stay positive and at times distracted so that I'm able to cope. I will get through this. WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS.
I have to keep telling myself there's a finish line. My family will make it there eventually.
I just hope we make it there with dad.
I LOVE YOU DAD!! Remember... Relentless forward progress. Get better. Stay strong and fight as long as it takes to get to the finish. You have an ultra in you. You can do this. YOU WILL DO THIS.
Your loving daughter,
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