Reflections on 2014

Last night, my brother Tim and I went drifting in his mud truck. It was perfect weather for it (and it was his birthday). There was a nice layer of packed snow on the roads and it was snowing also. I love the thrill and adventure from things like that. On the other hand, my Mom’s overly cautious attitude comes out. I could barely get into my brother’s lifted mud truck. He had to get out, walk around the truck, hoist me up, and get me situated. Heck, he was trying to tell me to use my core and upper body to pull myself up. Ahh, hello! My upper body doesn’t really exist…I think he forgot I had surgery a week ago!

Anyway, we started driving on some country roads and ended up in town. So far it’s all good!! We drifted around corners. He’s turning the wheel this way and that way. I asked him a few times if the truck would/could tip over. Tim reassured me numerous times it wouldn’t based on the frame and massive tires. This truck is huge.

I shut up.

We drifted in and out of a subdivision, the whole time my hands were tightly gripped to the “oh sh**” grab bar. I was having fun, but hanging on for dear life. In the meantime, we’re doing donuts and circling here and there…until we were mid-circle and his truck died.

We both laughed. His battery conked out on him. After all, the truck had been sitting for a few months now and was winterized. It was to be expected, right?! His friend came to the rescue and jump-started Tim’s truck.

Life is full of unfortunate events. Those unfortunate events can be something simple or even complicated lasting even years. I’ve always told myself that everything happens for a reason, whether I know now, in the future, or never know why. Sometimes I try to figure out the why, but never get an answer. I’ve looked to friends to get that answer, but to never get it. I’ve looked within myself for the answer, only to be frustrated I don’t have an answer why. I’ve given up looking for the answer. Sometimes the answer is right in front of me. Most of the time, it’s hidden never to be found. I’m learning to be okay with that.

2014 was a very difficult year. A year where I hung on to things, drifted here and there, unsure of what was to come, and even stalled in the middle of the intersections. I had to have friend’s come a jump-start my battery and put things in perspective for me. They had to recharge my battery. I hung on for dear life, and at times wanted to throw in the towel. But I couldn’t.

I could probably say 2014 was the worst year ever. It brought me to my knees more times that I can remember. It left me breathless at times, tired, drained, unsure, hopeless…

But you know what, when Tim and I were drifting, I could have let go of the grab bar. I didn’t. I could have given up on the crappy things that happened in 2014. I didn’t. I hung on. I hung on for dear life and took whatever was thrown my way.

2014 wasn’t my worst year. It was my best year. It wasn’t an easy year, but I pushed through and handled what some would run from.

I found out Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer while out for a jog one cool March day. Her breast cancer was BRCA1. I got my ducks in a row, did the genetic testing and I, too, was BRCA1 positive. I had an 87% chance of getting breast cancer in my lifetime (now it’s 10% since having my PBM). How scary knowing breast cancer was in my future at some point. I had some extremely difficult decisions to make, and decisions I would never wish on anyone.

I got to meet some amazing professional triathletes and develop a good friendship with one in particular – Meredith Kessler. She’s an outstanding and beautiful person! I broke some personal bests in the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and sprint and half Ironman triathlons. I have some new PR’s to chase down when I’m completely healed and fully back in the game.

Why do I say it was my best year? It was my greatest year of faith, courage, determination, compassion, strength, hope, trials, survival, patience, bravery, and friendship. I’m alive. Healthy. Thankful. Each day is truly a gift that I don’t want to waste. I am made up of so many great things, and my year taught me more than I ever wanted to be taught at one time. I’m still learning much about myself through this second surgery and recovery time. My body is healing; it’s resilient and will bounce back. I’m accepting and coping with my new norm. It’s taking time and that’s okay – there’s no timeline and deadlines.

2014 taught me I’m a fighter. I can handle anything thrown my way. I held on and lived to tell it with my story. My friend gave me this awesome shirt as a present and it said SWEAT – She Will Endure All Things. My motto for 2014 and many more years to come!

Goodbye, 2014. Thank you for so many things. The year may have ended and the new one is well on its way. I will always be reminded daily of my 2014 year. My Previvor journey isn’t complete and there’s an ending still waiting to be written. Who knows, I may not get that ending this year either. I’ve decided I’m okay with where I’m at right now – no real ending; no perfect cadence to my unfinished symphony.

Cheers to a new year! I can’t wait for the awesome adventures and randomness it brings. I had some pretty lofty plans for 2015 (like completing my first Ironman), but that was all pre-surgery/BRCA stuff. Those plans and goals can wait until 2016! Perspective. My motto this year is flying by the seat of my pants. I have a few things planned, but, for the most part it will be rather spontaneous with racing and things in general.




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