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Staying positive and thankful

Whether it’s someone you love or a random stranger, please remember to not judge what you do not know or understand. The only thing you should do is support your loved ones and not interpret what will most likely remain a mystery to you from strangers. Your interpretation of “honesty” is only how you feel and not what is necessarily true. #pleasebekind #smile

“Here today, gone tomorrow.” This is not just a quote, these are not just words.  This is a way of life.  It means live in the moment, live in the now, because we do not know what’s going to happen later.   It means to be happy, to find happiness, to do the things and be around the people who make you happy.

Live in your moment knowing that tomorrow is not guaranteed.  Tell your loved ones you love them and never go to bed upset at them.    And, when you wake up the next morning, be thankful and grateful that you are alive and smile.

Remember, life is beautiful so enjoy, love, laugh, smile, and be happy.

S.M.I.L.E

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When my doctor tells  me that I was “knocking on death’s door without knowing it” or that I am “lucky to be alive” at this moment, it reminds me how blessed I am to be able to wake up with a smile every morning.  It reminds me to be thankful and grateful for my second chance at life.  It also reminds me that I never want to be in that place again, where I was pretty much rendered lifeless for the better part of a year.  By all accounts, I should be long forgotten by now.  To this day, I could remember doctors and nurses asking my love if she wanted a priest to come to read me my last rites during one of my numerous trips to the emergency room.

As I slowly began to awaken to my life again by the grace of god and the miracles of modern medicine, I started getting back to where I was physically before my illness had taken over my body.  I was no longer tired, I was breathing on my own, I started eating a lot more, and my fever and symptoms slowly disappeared.  My body felt back to form, but mentally, something had changed in me.  I decided I wanted to make changes in my life, to be healthier and happier.  To do that, I had to change my thoughts and change my mind, because I didn’t want to go back to where I was before and during my illness.  I love my sweetheart, that will never change,  but mostly everything else had to change or else I would live in a state of unhappiness within myself for the rest of my existence.  I didn’t want my second chance at life to be a waste.

When I look back at the time when my doctor first told me about my disease, about how I would be on lifelong medication, I considered it payback for what I did in my life prior.  Today, I consider my medical condition a blessing.  It literally has saved my life, both physically and especially mentally.  My medical condition has awakened the spiritual being in me, has inspired me to do so much, has given me the courage to challenge myself, and to not allow my illness to take control of me.  In a twist of irony, I have my lifelong medical condition to thank for helping me become the person I am today.   In a twist of fate, I came back to life.

At this very moment, I am blessed to be alive and I am grateful and thankful for being able to be a healthier and happier me.

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As with always when doing something for the first time, I felt nervous, afraid, wondering if I would be able to accomplish this goal on my bucket list. I always told myself throughout the weeks leading up to the Los Angeles Marathon that I could do it, that there wouldn’t be anything that would stop me from crossing the finish line, nothing short of passing out from exhaustion and breathlessness.

The moment came when it was time for me to start. As I crossed the start line, the intent was to finish the race within five hours. It went well beyond that, and included marathon blisters, the need to stop and drink water, and the need to just walk because my legs were hurting so much. I had cramped my left calf muscle, my abs were hurting, and not to mention the 90 degree weather and the sunshine beaming on me.

I started out well, until I started not to do well. My sweetheart, god bless her soul, met me in Beverly Hills around mile 16 or 17 to help cheer me on, to inspire me to push forward. She even walked with me, raced to get me gatorade, water, you name it whatever the rulebook for marathons said to do she was prepared for. As the other runners and myself started inching closer, the cheers became louder, the sun became stronger, the choice to give up and just call it quits started becoming easier. But I just couldn’t do it. Not after spending countless hours in preparation, running, strength training, and cross training.

As the other runners and I  were making our way to the finish line, I could here my sweetheart cheering me on in the cheering section. I remember her words “GO SWEETIE, GO!!.” I realized how close I was, how close I had finally come, and pushed myself for that last half mile. I wanted not just to do it because I said I would, I just wanted the race to be over so I gave one last push until I couldn’t any more. I finally crossed the finish line at 6 hours, 27 minutes, and 42 seconds.

It was brutal throughout but the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment came over me. I had done it, I set out to achieve my goal and I never gave up. Friends, colleagues, and others ask would you do it again. The answer is a resounding “YES” I would and “YES” I will.

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