Investing in my Health, Part 6

As I got older and went back to my love of running, I also went back to my my Mom’s passing. A lot of the feelings I think I should have felt after she passed were suppressed and well, I was just too young to either feel them, acknowledge them, and to know what questions to ask.

And I had SO many questions. I connected with cancer causes, did my own research, and talked to my biology and sociology profs and TAs about cancer issues, focusing many of my papers on things cancer-related.

I started to really realize how huge it was that this thing, losing my mother, in my early age, and her in her mid-forties, impacted my life. I started to hate it. I hated that my memories were vague, that I didn’t know her voice, and also often wondered if there were parts of me that were growing to look like her parts, only I had no idea what her parts looked like. A 5-year old doesn’t really focus on those things.

The biggest thing that bothered me was that kids everywhere were losing their mothers at age 5 too. It wasn’t just me. And so I decided that I wanted to do something about it. I decided to host a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society, and along with family members and close friends, and my boyfriend, we shed our hair for a cause.

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I continued my research and got more acquainted with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. They answered so many questions and took interest in my interest to volunteer. They asked me if I was interested in being part of the Team in Training program, which honours and supports blood cancer patients through endurance sports. Having my eye on running a full marathon at some point in my life, I decided to go for it. I was going to volunteer, but I was also going to train. They equipped me so well with a great team, a mentor and a coach.

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A Hero board that my siblings and I put together to share with my team who I was running for.
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The morning of the marathon, decked out in Mom-Love and ready to rock.

Investing in my Health, Part 5

When I started dating my boyfriend (now husband), he was kinda grossed out by the fact that I loved vegetables and fish. He would sing “You don’t win friends with salad”, taunting me while I enjoyed my roughage, and would stare oddly at my plate when I’d eat fish. He claimed he didn’t want to eat something that looked the same as it did when it was alive. He was not a vegan.

I vowed to get him to not only start eating more veggies and fish, but also to love it. (He also vowed to get me to love Spam…20 years later, he’s still trying.) I’m happy to say I was successful…and sometimes he even gets excited when he comes home and sees that there’s fish and veggies for dinner.

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Spam Musubi, one of the only ways I actually like Spam!

I loved getting him to eat better. I still do, although after marriage, they call it “nagging”.  *insert annoyed face here*

After we got married, people started making jokes that I wasn’t feeding him because he started shedding pounds. He wasn’t eating less, just better. It felt so good to help him make that change, to take better care of himself.

Investing in my Health, Part 4

When I was in elementary school, I started joining clubs and teams as early as I could. I was no longer that kid who sat in the corner, but the kid who just wanted to try things. One of the first things I was allowed to join was the Cross Country Team. I was in 3rd grade and just wanted to be a part of something. Me and a good friend who was a really strong runner, ran together, and at times, she would even find the energy to pull me alongside. I was short, she was tall, and we wanted to run side-by-side. She even lent me her old windbreaker. At the meet, she and I both qualified to go to the regionals, the only ones in our grade, and we loved it.

Eventually, I became the fastest cross country runner in our school. I even got a C in Home Economics because I kept missing classes to go to the meets. (If my teacher could see me now!)

Track and Field had my heart too. I started out in mixed relay and eventually sped up to become the anchor in girls relays as I got older. By the time I was in 8th grade, I ran the relay plus the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, and 1500m. I couldn’t get enough. My coach didn’t want me to do all the events, but I wanted to and I did, with my sub not too far behind.

By the time I reached high school, a small fish in a big pond, I tried out for nothing athletic, and totally regret letting fear get the best of me. I was a typical teenager who believed there was always someone bigger and better than me, so why try? I focused on my academics, but still loved Phys Ed, and took it all throughout high school. I politely declined when a few of my gym teachers asked me to try out for Track or Cross Country over the years. I was also focused on this boy, who I now call my husband, and well, despite being risk-averse in high school, he was the best decision ever.

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Taken something like 20 years ago

Investing in my Health, Part 3

Don’t get me wrong – my childhood is full of amazing memories. I grew up in a house full of kids – being the 5th of 6 kids, with a plethora of older sisters and their friends, a little brother who was down for anything (including letting his GI Joes be my Barbies’ boyfriends), my Dad who loved us, close family nearby, things were always noisy and fun.

Something my sisters and I used to do pretty often was “Bodies in Motion” with Gilad Janklowicz.

Continue reading “Investing in my Health, Part 3”

Investing in my Health, Part 2

The New Norm

The days after that, like much of this chapter of my life, are blurry. I have flashes of memories of her visitation in the funeral home and the actual funeral. But, the flashes I do have, I remember, not even like they’re yesterday, but like I’m living them in present time. The sights, the smells, the sounds…I relish the sensory capture I have of these moments because although they’re horribly sad, they’re also very important to me.

As sad as this sounds, because my Mom had been in the hospital for months before she passed, I didn’t really feel like it was a huge adjustment to live without her at home. But, I was also only 5, going on 6. We visited her site at the cemetery often and for years, I associated being in that place as being with her.

Continue reading “Investing in my Health, Part 2”