Geranium seeds

Seeds of wellness for body, mind and spirit

Bust a move, because you can

on January 8, 2012

Running the Michelle Brock 5K (November 2011)

A couple of months ago I ran the 3rd annual Michelle Litteral Brock 5k Memorial Race. The tagline of the race is “Run Because you Can.” Michelle died of Huntington’s Disease at age 40. Her family and friends started this race to honor Michelle and raise awareness and funds for the Huntington’s Disease Society.

When I met Michelle, she had already been suffering from Huntington’s for many years and depended on her family for total care. My husband, however, knew Michelle when she was a healthy and active young woman — the impeccably dressed college student who took an interest in teaching younger kids at her church.

Michelle Litteral Brock

 

It always seems like a great injustice when illness happens to people who have worked hard to cultivate healthy lifestyles. My dad is a prime example. I would be hard pressed to think of someone who has taken better care of his physical health. Never smoked, rarely drank (and even then, only a glass a wine), got adequate sleep, healthy diet, and exercise. For years, my dad would begin each morning with his exercise routine, and finish each day with a walk on the beach. He even did pilates, for goodness’ sake! A gastroenterologist by trade, he always took care to drink enough water and eat sensibly. When I think back to my childhood, I don’t ever remember my dad being sick with even a common cold. He certainly never missed a day of work. He was the last person I ever expected to get sick with a serious illness. And yet, in 2009, at age 62, my dad was diagnosed with ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

After the shock of the diagnosis wore off, I was grieved with the thought of all that ALS had robbed my father of… no more walks on the beach, or hiking up mountains, or dancing at weddings. No more endoscopies or lap band surgeries for this doctor who loved his job. No more holding his grandchildren in his arms.

I wondered for a while if l would ever feel as free and light as I once had, before my dad had this terrible disease. It seemed as if life could never be sweet again. I can only imagine what my dad felt. He told me once shortly after the diagnosis that he had asked God to either heal him or take him home. He didn’t want to live with the disease. The fact that my dad had even prayed for divine healing is exceptional. This was a man who had always valued science over religion. But, that is the subject of another post.

That was then. I have seen my father change perspective over the course of these last three years. The disease is progressing every day. He has lost movement of his arms, and has hardly any movement left in his legs. But he wants to live. He is still holding out hope for healing, mind you. But he wants to be here, and he still enjoys life.

Dad and I, July 2011

And for me? Life is sweet again. A big part of it was letting go of what could have been or what cannot be, and embracing what is and was. So my father was a very healthy and active person before having this terrible disease. Thank God! He enjoyed his health. He traveled; he worked; he used his body and his mind. It was not in vain. And now he continues to make the best of his abilities.

The real tragedy, you see, is having health and not enjoying it. Having life and not doing anything with it. Being able to move and not being grateful.

Sometimes, when I am lacking motivation to start or finish a workout, I think of my dad, and what a privilege it is that I can exercise. That gives me some extra energy and gratitude for FREEDOM. And I then I pray that same energy reaches my dad, somehow.

Let’s remember to bust a move whenever we can. Because we can.

 
http://www.alsa.org/ The ALS Association
http://www.hdsa.org/ Huntington’s Disease Society of America
 
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