Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ain't Nothing Gonna Break Her Stride

It's like standing in the crowd of a marathon start.  You can feel it.  There's a buzz in the air.  The anticipation of what the day holds ahead of you, the excitement of racing forward, and the overwhelming feeling of, "what the hell did I sign myself up for" fills your entire being - heart pounding, palms sweating and your stomach in knots.  The gun sounds and you, my friend, are on your way.  You're running among a pack, but the race is all yours.  No looking back.  Put one foot in front of the other at a steady pace and you'll find your rhythm and stride in no time.  Walk through the water stations if you need to take a breather and gather strength from the crowd around you when you need that extra push.  Your body can do this.  You've been preparing for this race for some time now and there is a finish line to the end of this grueling 26.2 miles.

Colleen's been able finish two marathons in her life.  Yeah, the crazy girl went back for more and did it a second time.  I know, she's crazy, right?  My sis has the highest pain tolerance of any gal I know.  I'm not kiddin'.  Both of her babies were born without the use of an epidural and her appendix ruptured while on a ski trip in Snow Bird, UT.  No big whoop.  And two weeks ago, while on a run, she took a dive off the curb, dusted herself off, and drove herself to urgent care to get an x-ray on her ankle.  She nonchalantly called me on her way home and said, "It hurts like a %#@&*, but it could have been worse."  Nothing like sportin' an aircast while you prepare your daughter for neck surgery.  Oh, you girls continue to be two peas in a pod.    

Lilly is her mother's daughter.  She's one tough cookie, I'll tell you that much.
                                                                            Lilly turning-it-out on the track
Lilly's been training now for a while.  Well, since the age of two months to be exact.  Therapy or "the gym" as we like to call it, has helped her a great deal along way.  She's been fighting since the day she was born to gather the gifts of movement that most of us have and take for granted.  The race that she's about to "run" will be grueling and will not come without a few steep hills and winding switchbacks.  But, she's closer than she's ever been and the finish line is just within reach.

The last appointment prior to Lil's surgery, which must seem like the last long run the week before a marathon, was today.  It's during that run that you must accept the future and its possibilities but know that mentally and physically you've done all you can leading up to that point to prepare.  Matt and Colleen took Lilly to Oregon Health Sciences University where they met with the neurosurgeons' nurse practitioner regarding the day of surgery. They were given details such as: check-in time, length of surgery, length of time in recovery . . . .  It wasn't asked when Lilly would seem like Lilly again; but they know, with time, their sweet-talkin', crusin', boogalooin' baby girl will reappear.
 After an hour's discussion with the NP, Matt and Colleen took Lilly to the upper campus of OHSU for a blood draw and a visit with a surgery nurse.  Lil's mode of transportation resembled that of a space-aged carriage fit for a pint-sized princess.  The Tram at OHSU is a high-flying, fast-moving coach that delivered Lilly and her parents to Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

 The length of their final training run lasted over four hours from start to finish, but having questions answered, walking the halls they may pace on Friday, and connecting with those who will care for Lilly will make this marathon seem manageable.

Lilly, ain't nothing gonna break your stride.  Remember to run this race at your own pace.  We'll be there cheering you on the entire time.

You, my friend, are on your way.

Lilly's surgery is set for this Friday, November 5th.  Please send healing thoughts her way.


  1. Love you Katie Lou! Love you Colleen! Love you Lil! Cheering and praying like crazy from the sidelines!

  2. Praying for a quick and uneventful surgery.