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I Ran

29 Apr

Yesterday I ran in a 5K race (3.1miles). This might seem insignificant to some, but for me it was a milestone, a miracle. My cancer surgeries and treatments have made it very difficult to participate in any type of cardiovascular activity because of my difficulty breathing. For those who don’t know, one of my vocal cords is paralyzed and because of scar tissue from three surgeries and external beam radiation along with swallowing I-131 radiation, my other vocal cord sits close to the other and moves a little slower. Picture drinking through a straw…lots of liquid. Now squeeze the straw so that it’s only open less than half the width, not much liquid can pass through and it’s that much more difficult to suck liquid in. That is how I breathe because my opening is less than half of a normal person’s. Without activity, I breathe just fine; but when I’m doing something active like running, I have to take at least twice as many breaths just to get air into my lungs. It’s a whole process of taking shorter faster breaths to keep going. Six months ago I could barely walk a mile on a treadmill without having to slow down and try to catch my breath, yesterday, I ran 3.1 miles. Now, I do have to say there were periods of walking, but a lot less than I thought. In fact, I finished 80th out of 134 in my age group (I pictured being last but finishing nonetheless). As I crossed the finish line, I could not help but break down and cry. It was a run for health, and faith, and for me, after four long years of fighting, it felt like a first step of trusting my body again, or as a quote I read on another cancer blog, ‘honoring a goal after a sea of disappointment’. I felt and still feel great! Of course I couldn’t do it alone. My friend Frances was there to encourage me and coach me through all the way. I knew this was something I wanted to do eventually and she helped lead me and keep me committed to this race (of course, there were times I wanted to back out).

After all the struggles with cancer and consequently my voice and my breathing, I can say that I can talk, sing, and run. Not without some struggles, but I feel blessed. Thank you to Frances and to all my friends and family that have helped and encouraged me. Thanks also to all of you who follow my lipstick journey!

Today I wear Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Natural in N47. It’s red and moisturizing….it is the red lipstick I was wearing when I crossed the finish line!

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4 Responses to “I Ran”

  1. Facing Cancer (@cancer2gether) May 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Congratulations Anna on your race. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to walk/climb stairs/move normally again – so I can only imagine how good it feels to run a race. Woohoo! Keep up the awesome momentum.

    • Anna May 2, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

      Thank you so much! Felt like a miracle!!

  2. Renee Allen (@rlviescas) June 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    I too have a paralyzed vocal cord. My right cord is paralyzed and has been size a heart surgery when I was just a few days old. I have always been involved in sports, but running has always been a challenge. In high school, I could sprint (and was pretty fast too), but could not run anything close to a mile. I am on a journey to overcome the challenges of running with a paralyzed vocal cord. I was able to run my first 5k in May. Now my goal is to figure out a compensation technique so that I can run faster and farther without feeling like I am going to pass out! You are an inspiration to me! Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Anna June 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

      Congratulations on your 5k! I decided it will always be difficult, but I am learning in my own way to get faster with more stamina despite my breathing! I know you can too!! Hugs and blessings!

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