Fear

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Anybody who follows this blog has seen it go silent. That is because I haven’t been sure how to write the post that I’m about to write.

I’m not afraid of much. I tend to dive into things and if it doesn’t work or I fail, then I brush off and move on…or try again. Somewhat recently though something happened that really shook me.

Back in October I ran the Mankato Half Marathon. I wasn’t feeling great that morning so figured I’d take it easy. Well, the race started out great!  For starting out sick, I was cruising. I kept pace just ahead of the 1:55 pacer and grinned at an upcoming PR that was sure to come as I flew along not breathing hard and with my legs carrying me effortlessly.  I knew I couldn’t go any faster or I’d gas out, I’m simply not that fast of a runner and I was only going that fast because of the down hills and some sort of ‘awesome’ going on.

Suddenly my stomach flew up into my throat. I’m not talking the barfs. I’m talking like when you’re on the down part of a roller coaster. It was my seizure aura. What? While I was running? It had to be fake or because I swallowed air. It wasn’t real. I got nervous and clammy and started looking for a spot to pull off the course. I slowed down. Nothing happened. Everything was OK…I reassured myself.

Then the world got painfully loud. It echoed in my ears, I clutched my head and pulled off the course and sat down waiting for it to stop. Waiting for ‘nothing.’  I was afraid.  Quiet came and this is where things get fuzzy. You see, I don’t know what happens when I have a seizure. I only know what happens before it. I only know what happens after it and after it I am confused to that is blurry.

A seizure robs me of time and robs me of control of my own mind, of my own body.

While I’m not sure what happened exactly, I made it safely to the finish thanks to a young boy who held my hand and told me it would be ok and a woman who walked with me for a bit over a mile. Thanks to my husband who dried my confused tears and the finish line attendant who let him walk me across.

I didn’t feel well, I didn’t feel happy. I felt robbed.  I understand I have seizures. I know I have epilepsy. I’ve come to accept that. Running, though, that was my escape. Running was my freedom, my control, my independence, my strength.   Seizures have no place here.

It took me a bit but I ran after Mankato and decided that it was a fluke. That the seizure was due to being ill before the race. I brushed it off and ran. I blocked it out like a bad memory and ran. I smiled again and did what a “no fear” gal does and ran.

Then came Tbunk. The 50 mile race out in Wisconsin.   The short lap went great and I ran with a nice woman who was doing a training run and planning to drop at 50k. I was tired but when I got to the aid station I quickly moved through and started my 1st long lap. My knee got cranky along with my mind on the second lap. A headache started to form but I figured I wasn’t drinking enough or something and popped a s-cap, chugged some water and continued on. I got to the aid station and declared my knee a bugger and pushed out onto the 2nd long lap. My knee yelled throughout the lap but I did a nice run walk and it behaved enough that I knew I could get the race done on it at least. I ate off and on and T bunk was going “good enough”  I made it into the aid station again and told hubby and Dan that my knee was some bad words and that I hate them and then took off again on the 3rd long lap. I happily thought about how after this lap there would only be 2 more and I could take a nap.

My stomach flew up and the world got loud. I was surrounded by nature. I was scared. No, I was really scared. I looked around. How far was I from people? Could I get help? Then I woke up on the ground with a strange man over me. I was wearing someone else’s gloves and someone else’s coat. I was cold. It went dark again.  Then there were more people. A truck. A blanket.  I felt embarrassed. I felt confused. Where was I? Who were these people?  Everything was so wrong and I was cold.

It takes a bit after a seizure for my brain to fully reset. An ambulance was called at Tbunk. My husband tried to stop that as he knows how embarrassing that is to me. It was too late and I was taken to the ambulance to be checked out. I didn’t know my address.  I wanted a nap, all I needed was a nap.

I’ve tried to get over this.

To brush it off.

In reality, I admit that I am shook. Running right now no longer represents my freedom from stress, my reprieve from epilepsy and my strength. Right now it strikes fear in me. And that is depressing.

To have something you love and thrive on ripped away from you. To feel like a failure because you can’t seem to brush it off- that is depressing.

In reality, for now this blog is silent because for all I’ve just said, I don’t know what to say or do to move on from here.

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5 thoughts on “Fear

  1. Oh dear Sarah, I am so very sorry that you are feeling depressed and robbed and like a failure. I am so sorry that running is being tied to these feelings. I would give you a big big hug if I could. Keep feeling your feelings and give it time. Sometimes that is all we have that we can control. Hugs.

    • Thanks for your words, they mean a lot. I’m hoping that time off ‘heals’ and have even considered starting over from scratch– “jogging in my kitchen” to see if I can take back running. I’m just not sure, but I know I’m meant to run, I’m just not sure how to get back there with love and not fear. Thank you.

  2. You are brave and truly remarkable. I understand feeling robbed of that thing that is your panacea; it may take some time, but I believe you’ll find a way through and the joy that is running will return. Sending you strength..

  3. Oh jeez, that is horrible. I don’t know what to say and didn’t want to hit the “like” button as I don’t like what you’re dealing with, but I don’t have any words that may help. I know time will eventually help. Take it slow and jog close to home to get your confidence back. Remember you’re pretty tough.

  4. I’m so sorry that you’re going through this, Sarah! I wish I had the right words to say that would be reassuring, but I don’t. I do know that you are one tough cookie, and that you overcome any obstacle that’s in your path because that’s what you do. I think that the joy of running will return after some time away from it… at least, that’s always been my experience when I’ve dealt with injury. You are awesome and you inspire others to greatness!

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