Running From Dad’s Cancer

It’s officially been 3 months since my surgery, and no migraines have been had. Part of me is thrilled beyond belief. With the exception of some achy head pain, fiery nerve pain here and there, and a mile headache from time to time as I am healing and recovering… I have no pain. I’ve been lucky.

But I can’t bring myself to really celebrate. I’m too busy worried about my Dad.

I’ve been struggling between finding the time for myself and my husband, helping my Mom take care of my Dad, and taking care of myself. Between the visits to the hospital, work, spending time with Dreamboat and the normal things like cooking, cleaning, sleeping…. I feel like I have had no time to myself in months. It’s frustrating. A lot of my friends are asking me about my Dad, knowing his medical history. When Chrissy talked to me, she listened to me go on and on for a bit and then stopped me.

“Remember to take care of yourself too,” she said. I started to blow her off and say that my family was more important but she stopped me. “You need to take care of you too.”

“I just don’t feel like it, though. I’m depressed. I’m so exhausted when the alarm goes off at 5:30am,” I complained to her. She shook her head.

“You are going to be tired regardless. Why not get something out of it?” she said.

I went home that night and thought about it, realizing she’s right. I do have to take care of myself too. I can’t give up on myself, or lose myself, in taking care of my family. Running has always been a part of who I was, a part of my plan to keep depression at bay, and a way to escape reality even if it’s only for a couple of miles. Music and writing is the same way. It’s all a part of who I am, and not doing it is not being myself.

So when I ran the next morning, I really pushed it. It was cool on Tuesday morning, the air just slightly damp from humidity. I had my phone playing Pandora on the Hollywood Undead station. Focused on my running, my breathing, and just being aware of how my body felt or getting lost in the music made the short mile and a half out feel good. Then I turned around and started to run back, and for some strange reason I started thinking about my Dad.

My run suffered. I stopped more than I did running out, my breathing went wonky, and my emotions got the best of me and I just finished poorly. As I walked back to my condo, I looked at the time. and my average pace was 12:43/mile. Faster than I have run since the surgery. Awesome. Then during the day, I felt pretty good. Not too stressed or overly depressed. I mean, my Dad is dying of cancer, of course I’m depressed…but it wasn’t the all encompassing, doom is killing me, I hate my life kind of depression.

So maybe I need to start running from Dad’s cancer to make this whole thing work. First thing in the morning, every morning (sans Saturdays since I’m still working the overnight) I just get up and run a few miles to help my brain as well as my body. It will make me feel better, and it will be me taking care of myself while I take care of my Dad.

Because I can’t take care of someone else unless I take care of myself first, right?

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