As I sit in my chair, scarred and hurt, this Thanksgiving, I’am Grateful For Kristin McQueen.
I was going to write a long update on my many injuries and surgeries. Letting you know about the loss of feeling in my arms, the depression due to the many pain killers and inability to exercise and on and on. There's a lot to talk about.
Then I received a note of support from Kristin McQueen and it made me grateful for people like her and the others who have come back from so much more.
Kristin was diagnosed with cancer in 2003, she has had over a dozen surgeries and has never let that slow her down or kill her positive attitude.
In October at the same time, I was having ankle surgery, Kristin was having her ninth brain surgery, which forced her to drop out of the Chicago Marathon. Instead of getting down she, stayed positive and changed her focus on Ironman Arizona on November 18th.
At the time McQueen wrote to friends and supporters, “I think opting out of that race was a smart decision because 11 days ago I had my head cut open for the 9th time. I still have hopes to make it to the start line of Ironman Arizona on November 18. I may be completely off my rocker to expect that this is going to happen, but every great accomplishment starts with the belief that it can happen. So, the last 2 months have been a blur of brain surgery with resulting pain, vertigo and fatigue. What started out as a “simple” surgery expecting only to be off work a few days has turned into 2 surgeries in 5 weeks with 2 months off of work and a missed marathon. My training has been non-existent over the past 2 months because of my diva head but mentally I am ready, focused and grateful."
To date McQueen has endured massive pain and set backs, but has been able to raise more than 120 thousand dollars for the American Cancer Society and people who are less fortunate than her.
People were telling Kristin that she should bow out of the Ironman, that she has nothing to prove and it’s time to stop. Her response was humble and strong. “Ironman is so much more than an endurance race. It is not about simply propelling myself 140.6 miles for kicks, it’s about challenging my limits and seeing what’s possible. It’s about reclaiming my body after 5 neck surgeries, 2 rounds of radiation, 9 brain surgeries and a slew of acquired physical challenges. It’s about not giving into all the limitations that cancer and its buddies have imposed on me, but viewing them as challenges that ultimately make the race even sweeter by overcoming them. It’s about going from not being able to open my eyes without getting sick, having difficulty sitting upright and being too weak to stand by myself to completing one of the ultimate tests of human endurance. It’s about raising money so that nobody else has to go through what I have. It’s about remembering those who have passed and honoring those who fight every day to live a “normal” life despite a disease that tries to tear them down.”
She finished the Ironman with an impressive time, feeling good and raising even more money.
As I sit every day in a cast, doped up with pain killers, unable to work, exercise, walk, play with my kids, or do so many other things that I love, I think about the final part of a note sent to me by Kristin and I know this is only temporary and in the end, I will be OK, different, but OK and stronger for going through this.
"What I'm trying to get at is that doctors don't know everything. you may have to adjust your goals and your approach but the body and human spirit can also do amazing things. Obviously I don't want to you to go and hurt yourself further, but I just wanted to give you a little hope. I'm a physical therapist and work hard to help people get to where they want to be. I've seen some amazing recoveries from some pretty persistent, determined and hard-working people.
One step at a time!"
To follow Kristin on her adventure click here.