1:10:05: One hour, ten minutes and five seconds. It is my new record for jog/walking the five K. The Terry Fox was a 5K to increase numbers. So bigger this year but later in the day at 10:30, and the rain was gone, the sun was shining. Some people had hair shaved for Cancer charity fundraising including Olympic medal winner Silken Laumann (whose went on to get bronze instead of to the hospital after a injury that shredded her leg to the bone).
I ran for the first kilometer with a woman with a leg amputation but she was powering on and by 2 kilometers she left me in the dust. Due to the sun, I had a ‘cool bandana’ with crystals to cool my brain stem, and water poured over me to cool my body. My hands swelled, so much that I couldn’t hold a drink but took water when I could, with Linda and then Cheryl using the wheelchair as a portable station for holding drinks, bandana’s, oxygen, and even an ambi-bag for breathing.
While the event isn’t timed, it doesn’t stop some people from getting ‘serious’ from the 7 or 8 year old in this picture doing stretches, to the runners flying past, fingers on their neck pulse to see if they are reaching ‘optimum heart rate.’ But for most it was a family event or personal remembrance to raise funds or awareness of cancer. There were two wheelchairs besides mine. The guy with the hip amputation was back, having seen him in 2008, 2009 and this year, doing the 5K on crutches. With sun and no sweating, I quickly swelled up all over my body, and not only was I taller than they rest but a blimp to boot.
Some of the racers, or walkers thought the event was more of a fashion show, or fitness show but I was running my race for my reasons, just like a lot of people on this particular race. The scenery was nice, though I spent most time trying to stay upright. My left side didn’t respond much, either in arm or leg movement, and by the hill at 3.5 kilometers we were at the back. But just getting PAST the cemetery was a motivation. Cheerful place to put in the center of a cancer 5K, no?
I was wearing Columbia hiking shoes/boots as they had the support of my tendon and ankles to stop them rolling over. When I lost balance, I would suddenly go sidewise a few steps, or diagonally. Having the support to get my balance back and heading forward helped. Having Linda there to provide water to pour over my head and drink, as well as Cheryl to pace helped a lot. I am tall, I felt like I was the tallest person there. Kids stared, I waved, teens stared, people stared, oh well.
The people doing the 10K had passed us and finished, and so had mostly everyone else. People were heading home in their cars, but we were still going. One guy running by yelled at me, ‘You’re holding up the end of the race.’ Classy.
As we were alone, Linda and I, then Cheryl and I played the ‘what damage or diseases DON’T I have.’ Game. After an hour of pain and sun, with people gawking at the wheel chair and me, this was humor.
‘I don’t have Lupus!’
‘or HIV’ said Linda
‘Cancer, though after four years without even an x-ray, who knows’
‘Well, lets see, damage to heart, lungs," I staggered on like a wound up disability doll, continued, "oh and the circulatory system, blood, brain, nerves, spine,”
‘liver’ Linda added, as the blood tests showed that was damaged.
‘Kidney, connective tissue’, I added, from the blood test results
‘Immune compromised.’ Linda added also from the blood tests
‘Brain Damage, stroke, seizure disorders, cellular edema’
‘I don’t have Bird Flu!’ I finished.
The final stretch was uphill but Linda was up ahead at the finish line, waiting for us. She did the whole thing with a backpack full of medical supplies to support me. Thanks.
I did it, (and so did Cheryl and Linda) without stopping or resting, I went on and on, as fast as I could. I thought a lot about Terry Fox as people passed me, or stared. I'm going as fast as I can. Terry used to write and say that a lot too.
I sat in the chair and Linda got oranges and water. After three oranges, I wheeled out, starting the 5K I was to do in my wheelchair. 5K walking/5K wheeling, makes sense right? Apparently not so much to Linda.
I wheeled a bit (Linda later showed me, it was only 50 yards or so), and rested in the shade of a tree so the cool breeze from the ocean could cool my core. And that is all I remember.
I passed out, Linda saw me unconscious from where she was at the finish line, came over and wheeled me to the St. John’s ambulance. I wasn’t breathing and passing out. There was a guy doing training who learned how to do the ambi-bag. He was doing it for 10 minutes while I had stopped breathing. The supervisor saw the one in Linda’s bag while she was getting medication and Cheryl noticed and told him, “Well, you’re already using yours.” (I was told this after, by Linda and Cheryl) The EMT's seemed a little surprised that we had a mobile ambulance in backpacks and under the wheelchair.
They called the Ambulance Service (two of them).
I woke up as Linda was finishing explaining my disease to the St. John’s people and the EMT’s. “And she walked it??” The senior guy asked, “The WHOLE way?”
Linda said yes and they looked at me, and I gave them a thumbs up and said, “A-okay”, which would have been more convincing if I had not been out for about a half hour. The EMT’s allowed me to leave, though in taking the blood for the diabetes test, the blood pressure from that needle stick flowed down my fingers, and onto my other hand. I guess the pressure was a little HIGH.
Happy we were not going to spend 3 hours in the hospital, we went to Beacon Drive in instead and had Ice Cream. I had a hot fudge Sundae.This was MUCH better than the hospital. After that it was only home, an assisted shower after I post this and then off to bed!
Thanks for your support. I set a new record for palliative…er, system dying, autonomic function impaired individuals for the 5K. Woot! (Now, for the next few days, I just have the pay the cost, sleeping in my Hello Kitty Pirate Sleep shirt I love how she has the muli-piercing earring AND the heart shaped eye patch, although if you are doing the whole skull and bones of dead people, adding a pink bow tends to diminish the fear factor).
3 hours ago