When “Disaster” Strikes – Cry, Run, or Swim

As February comes to a close, I’m reminded that this road I’m traveling on is full of various terrains. At the top of the mountains there’s an extremely beautiful view of the world around us, and at the lowest points I’m reminded about my why. This week has definitely been crazy, and I have no idea where to start.

Sunday was a beautiful day for a 10 mile run. Nothing makes a long run fly by when you’re running with someone. We had our chatty moments, and many moments just listening to our breathing and the pitter-patter of our feet against the pavement. It was perfect weather and we pulled out the shorts. I ran in my SkirtSports skirt, a tshirt under a tank, and my arm sleeves. If I wore more clothes, I would have been way overdressed and overheated.


I’m so excited where my running has taken me. I’m honestly doing the best I’ve ever done, AND it’s post-surgery. I never ran like this pre-surgery. I’m excited to stay on track and go after my target pace/goal at my April half marathon. No pressure, though. I want a 2:00 or sub 2:00 half marathon time, and I’m determined to get there.

Monday quickly brought me off my runner’s high. I came home after work and did my usual – drop the bags on the table, take off work clothes, open mail…

“Insurance has denied your claim. These services (date) are not covered under….You owe $(sticker shock), which must be paid in full and applied on your next statement.”

I was shocked and immediately got on the phone to start the appeal process. I didn’t get very far and still dealing with crap today. How can a pre-existing condition be denied by insurance? Is this the future for me and all those blood tests, oncologist/gynecology appointments? If I don’t do these testing’s bi-annually and meet with my doctors, how can I stay proactive? I met with the BRCA specialist, how could they potentially code something wrong?

A lot of thoughts raced through my mind. I figured I’d throw on my running shoes and have a date with the treadmill. .5 miles into my run, I couldn’t see through my tears. I hate moments like these where they knock me on my knees and make me feel absolutely broken. A piece of mail slapping me in my face with realities. This is my future – twice a year go get routine blood work done to monitor my CA-125 levels, go yearly to meet with my specialist, go yearly to meet with dermatologists, gynecologists, ultrasound techs, eye doctors etc etc. Can you tell those with BRCA1 are high risk for multiple things?! High risk. Feeling broken and wondering when my body will turn against me. Will they find something at my next appointment. Sarah was 29 when they found her cancer. I’ll be 29 this year.

I packed up my swim bag, headed to the gym and danced with the water. I swam continuously for 34:02 minutes and was just shy of one mile. I got lost in my thoughts, let things go and just swam…

And then Tuesday happened…

I’ve been remodeling my basement and it’s about 75% done. I have no desire to stain the window sill, put the casing up around the windows, or do the floor boards. I’ve lost my motivation and joy with it; partly because I’m struggling finding tile I like and really just don’t feel like staining. There’s a reason I haven’t found tile yet and truly a blessing in disguise. When the carpenter told me he could tile last week, I was super stressed. There’s a silver lining in all of this: my upstairs shower leaked into the basement, and puddled on the stairs and at the bottom of them. Had I tiled at the bottom of the stairs and the grout and stuff wasn’t dry or sealed, it would have been a bigger mess. However, when the brand new drywall had to be cut out, was told the plumbing in the house wasn’t correct, and so much more…like the drywall in the other bathroom was going to have to be cut out…I stood at the top of the stairs and cried. The carpenter came up to me, put his hand around me, said some things and told me it will be okay.


It wasn’t okay; I wasn’t okay. I had to run and get a caulk gun, special tile caulk and get to work fixing the upstairs shower. I had to call plumbers to see if they could come over ASAP to fix my downstairs bathroom so I could use it in the meantime. No one was able to come until late evening, and I sure as he** wasn’t paying the emergency fee. Everything added up. I’m laughing now and every single time I walk in the basement. I laugh every single time I take a shower and see my kindergarten caulking skills. Some beads are beautifully done, and others are pathetic at best. I can’t be an expert with everything, right?!

There were plenty other things that happened (even some amazing things – will share in another blog when I have permission), but there’s beauty in pain and pain demands to be felt. I realized earlier in the week there were some emotions with the double mastectomy that I hadn’t processed/dealt with, and it showed itself. That’s okay. I know there will be plenty other moments down the road. I internalize them, process them, and continue pushing forward. Everything happens for a reason. I’m not always going to be strong, but thankful for those people in my life that wipe away my tears, hold my hand, and walk alongside me.

Life is funny, messy and full of unknowns and things I cannot control. Roll with the punches, get back up and dust yourself off…I may have a hard time picking myself up, but so thankful for those amazing people in my life that make me laugh, forget what’s going on, bring me back to earth, and pick me up after I’ve fallen down. Even though I feel broken at times, I remember you can still use a broken crayon to color a beautiful picture, right?!

I may have brand new drywall missing from my basement, but that’s okay. There’s bits and pieces of myself that are missing that I’ve had to patch in over time, and I’m still a beautiful person inside and out. Sometimes it takes a few minutes (or a while) to scrape away loose debris from the hole. Then you have to cover the hole or dent with spackle to bring the spackle level with the drywall surface. It’s a process to let it dry before moving onto the next step. Sometimes the hole is much larger and you have to put a mesh patch over it. Then you’re using compound to cover the patch by using certain techniques, whether it’s crisscrossing or feathering it on.  Then you’re letting it dry so you can eventually sand it down to be flush with the other drywall. If the hole is way too big, you have to cut a piece of drywall, make marks on the other side, break it off, and line it up perfectly. Then you’re applying joint compound to the back and blah blah blah… You may have to use drywall tape on all sides to get it to stick, compounding over it, sanding it down…and eventually you have the hole covered. If the whole is too large, you’re adding screws, tape, corner bead and whatever else to fix it. It’s a process, and one that doesn’t just happen over night.

I say all of that because we all have flaws and things to work on. We’re all a work in progress. Different things are tossed our way and not all parts of our life are beautiful – they’re ugly, marred by trauma, pain, anger, anxiety, stress…and even water leaking through brand new drywall. My leaking water issue will get fixed and the plumbing lines will get reworked. There’s a lot that has to be fixed, and thankfully I have an amazing plumber working with me on things. This week has been a huge reminder and I learned much about myself. My appeal process with insurance and doctors will get resolved. My basement will get fixed. The hole will get patched, the tile will be installed, and eventually I’ll stain that casing. It’s all a process full of happy and sad moments. I still have my joy despite the stress and anxiety earlier in the week. Life moves on and tomorrow is a new day. Don’t sweat the small stuff, let things go and control what you can control. Bad things happen and I may not always feel happy and beautiful, but I shouldn’t worry when life gets messy and ugly. Joy and beauty are everywhere around me, in everything around me and in every one – no matter how we look or what we’re going through. Choosing to smile, recognizing I’m still a strong bada** despite my moments, and seeing the world is really an amazing place!

On another note: here’s a few pictures from my basement…There’s still a section note pictured that needs to get completed…




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