Yesterday, as I trained for a marathon I broke down thinking about how 11/11/11 was the beginning of bad news. I remember sitting in a waiting room feeling like a warrior. I was a Lupus survivor, mother of 3 with a healthy happy family just going in for a simple MRI. After my MRI, I was quietly escorted from the public waiting room to a private room for a phone call from the doctor, and so the journey began. My potential MS symptoms matched with the two lesions they discovered on my spine.
I drove home and called, my rock, my dad. He promised me that doctors knew nothing and that I was fine. The miracle man guaranteed me a life with no pain and suffering and I believed him.
In less than 6 months I was in a different hospital back in yet another private room hearing another doctor tell me that my dad had cancer. As my dad danced around the room promising me another miracle, I couldn’t be as optimistic and broke down. You could tell that this was a different talk from his team.
We fought hard for miracles and his first round of chemo was considered a home run, according to his oncologist.
During that time Cal, my niece, and his youngest granddaughter would be diagnosed with MLD. He fought that diagnosis with his faith and we argued about what terminal meant. After Cals diagnosis the second round of chemo was not a home run.
Dad and I spent the next months having some intense discussions about the power of prayer and miracles. I argued that we cannot pick our miracles. We are not promised a life without pain and suffering, and sometimes we have to redefine what we view as a miracle. Sometimes we have to fight for those miracles. Our family was not immune to pain because God was not our private genie in a bottle. Babies could be terminal and spiritual men could die. We were not allowed to define our pain threshold. In my typical harsh way, we argued and cried. I never left his side but I couldn’t pretend that his youngest grandchild was going to escape MLD simply because of his connection to God.
However, I defended the miracles man’s decision to not sign a DNR and I secretly dreamed that he would get on a plane to Greece for one of his famous pilgrimages and come back cured.
Instead, he declined quickly, as did Cal.
Within months my dad and Cal both entered hospice care. I had no idea what hospice meant, but now I was screaming at hospice nurses to fight for my dad to stay alive. I pleaded with my dad to fight for a miracle, but it doesn’t work that way. In 2013 I lost my miracle man, just a few days after the birthday I share with Callie.
Cal is still in hospice, and I am witnessing those miracles that Dad promised. My neurologist cannot understand the progression of my disease. He considers my MS to be subtle, and because of research, fundraising, and mothers like my sister, MLD kids are going to school. Cal won’t be one of those kids, but without Cal and the other families that have witnessed this disease, this wouldn’t have happened.
Running a marathon is such a small part of that miracle but that is how it works. It’s a lot of people doing small things that build up to real change.
I broke down on my run because I wanted to apologize to my dad for arguing about miracles. I wanted to tell him I was fighting for miracles because of him and everything he promised me.