Last week I was surprised by the joy of August. I was standing by the sink eating a peach. The peach had been picked the day before ripe from the tree. The juice was running down my chin and arm. It tasted fabulous. All of a sudden it felt like August was embodied in that peach; summer so packed full of simple pleasures that it was running over.
This August I’ve loved going for a run and grabbing blackberries off the bushes outside our house while I stretch. The kettle corn at the fair tasted sweeter this year. I thoroughly enjoyed that darkness doesn’t come until its time for bed. I loved Portland to Coast; bonding with girlfriends in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. I loved swimming with my family. My husband made an incredible saffron shrimp and rice dinner. We had lettuce wraps again. A friend made fried green tomatoes. My daughter went to the dentist and didn’t have any cavities. Little pleasures. Running over.
My daughter and I read Black Beauty together. It took us most of the month to finish. We both cried at the end. She said “poor little guy. I’m so glad he ended up happy”. I feel a little bit like the horse. I think partly it’s been such a great month because all the depressant effects of INH medicine have worn off. I feel like I shook off some lead weights and ended up happy. Woo Hoo. Yea for August.
I need a new pair of running shoes. Mine are just about dead. I know this partly because when I run I can feel pavement through the tread. Partly because this particular pair of running shoes smell funky. I don’t know how long running shoes should last but mine have logged miles for the last nine months and it’s time to go get a new pair. I feel a little guilty though. It’s like I’m trading in a pet for a new and improved version. The shoes look at me accusingly. I keep putting them back in the closet and delay again buying new ones.
Nine months ago I was diagnosed with dormant tuberculosis. (See To Whine or Not for all the details). To distract myself, I started running. My sister agreed to train with me. We recruited a marathon survivor to coach us. The first time we went out to run we made it once around the track. One quarter of a mile. We were hurting, red and blotchy and felt completely pitiful. The next week we went two laps – half a mile. Still blotchy. We were excited when we got up to a mile and did it in “only” fifteen minutes. We even high-fived. About a month ago we did our first 5K. We came in last. This did not bother me in the least. Last week, we did five miles in an hour. I cheered. My first 10K is in eight days.
There are two types of runners. The first types are gorgeous tall lanky people who make running look easy. My brother-in-law is one of these. He routinely runs ten plus miles and actually enjoys it. I like to watch this type of person run. Graceful. Fast. You can tell at one glance that they were built to run. In high school these people made me nervous. Now I mostly just try to stay out of their way.
The second type of runners are shorter, slower, and less coordinated. These are my kind of people. What we don’t have in grace we make up for in courage. I personally tend to weave when I run. A friend who trained with me a few years ago got so used to it that she just started grabbing my shirt sleeve when I was wandering too far into someone else’s lane. She didn’t say anything, just reeled me back in.
I am coming close to a finish line. I took my last pill for TB on Monday. In two weeks the medicine should be out of my system and I can resume a normal diet. I am so looking forward to eating a banana. And some guacamole. And cheddar cheese. I plan on eating everything on my restricted list. Even Skipjack even though I’m not totally sure what that is. Some sort of Tuna. Ever notice how if you can’t have something you suddenly want it? Is that just me? In two weeks I’ll have a celebratory dance and quit all the restrictions.
I’m not going to quit running though. Running clears my head. If I’m cranky and go for a run, I come back happy. It might only be that I’m happy I can stop but whatever works. Over the last nine months I’ve lost over 25 pounds, killed tuberculosis, kicked a caffeine habit, survived without chocolate and learned that if I run I can eat pretty much however much I want. This will be useful when the cheese resumes. I may have to up my mileage.
I really need new shoes.
To see the flipside go to www.doncanonge.com.
I brought home a souvenier from Rwanda. Well. Maybe. Maybe its a souvenier I’ve been carrying around for who knows how long. At any rate, its official. I had two positive skin tests for tuberuclosis. I would like to state the next sentance in very large letters. I AM NOT CONTAGIOUS. I HAVE NEVER BEEN CONTAGIOUS. I thought about getting a T-shirt that had the same thing but decided a blog post might have the same effect. I have dormant TB and am on nine months of medications. At the end of the nine months I will gratefully be finished and will never again have to think about TB. I’ll also never have to have another TB skin test.
The last several days I’ve had an internal battle with myself. The whiney half of me wants to tell everyone that I think it stinks that I can’t have a whole pile of foods I love for the nine months I’m on the meds. I have learned all about Tyramine and Histamine and liver swelling and high blood pressure. I’ve read and reread the drug information sheet several times. The pitiful half of myself is staring at my coffee pot and wondering if really one cup of coffee will really interact all that much and isn’t cheddar cheese worth a little severe high blood pressure?
I had another reminder this morning that gratitude really is the way to go. I had a conversation with someone who had tuberculosis as a child. Not the dormant kind. Okay fine. Keep the chocolate and the coffee. I’m grateful.
A couple of days ago someone who has already traveled this particular path emailed and said something that just made me smile. He said “welcome to the positive side”. Another TB survivor told me its great I’ve converted and welcome aboard. The fact is that once I’m done with the treatment, bring it on baby. This particular body is set to go. I have immunity now to Yellow Fever, Hepatitits A and B, Typhoid, Polio, Tetnus, and a whole pile of other prevoiusly deadly diseases. Doesn’t this make you grateful to live in this century? As a personal protest and committement to myself to try and not whine, I signed up for next year’s Warrier Dash. 3 miles. Lots of mud. This is fabulous. This whole adventure makes me want to get on a plane and go somewhere to help push back on the darkness. Wanna come?