Ever had a dream where you’re running away from something and your legs, arms and body just won’t move fast enough, as if some tremendous force were pushing you back? That’s how I feel most days when I go for a run. Typically, it doesn’t start out like that, but, after about 17-20 minutes, the heavy feeling starts to spread: to my eyelids, my shoulders, my arms, glutes, legs and feet. My heart, lungs and mind want to move faster, but my body is unwilling.
The doctor called this week, immediately following my ultrasound. She said that my bloodwork showed normal levels of thyroid hormone, but that my B12 levels were really low (hence the low energy). Then, she told me that my ultrasound revealed that my nodule was a complex one, meaning both solid and fluid-filled, and that I would need to schedule a biopsy.
It’s funny, through all of my time fundraising for cancer research, I never thought that I, myself, would come so close to “The Big C”. Reading through statistics, you’ll find that most thyroid nodules are benign, that, even if they do find malignancy, it’s very treatable in most cases. Only about 2% of cases get a bad prognosis, and that’s usually only if they’ve let it go for a while. Still, it does put things in perspective, when you suddenly realize that life isn’t this guaranteed forever thing. What are you running toward? What are you running from? Is it really necessary to run anywhere?
In running toward some things, I know I have sprinted painlessly away from others. I’ve spent so much of my life running away from things that scare me, or, worse, never trying because I was so afraid of the humiliation of failure. Mostly, I’ve run from myself, from the me I would be, if I’d never been afraid. I wonder how my life would have been different if I wasn’t afraid of showing the real me, instead of trying to remake myself all of the time into something better…
And now, because literal running has become so difficult, I have no choice but to find other ways to cope with life’s scary things. All of the alone time, in my own head, in my own world, just me and the pavement, safe, with my two feet drumming my independent rhythms against the road, all of that has been voided of freedom and joy. I now run just so I don’t lose all mojo completely, but it provides little satisfaction at this point, as I often find it difficult to run more than 40 minutes.
I may not believe that things happen for a reason, but I do believe that things can happen that give you reasons to learn, to reflect, and to grow. Maybe, while I’m still finding out what this health stuff means for my body, it’s time to slow down, stop running, and maybe consider taking in the landscape. Maybe we all need that, a pause, to figure out where we are going, and the roads we’ve hoofed to get us here.