The Final Countdown…

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It’s almost here! The day I have been training for for the last seven months is finally here. Race Day! This Sunday, May 1, 2016 I will start, I will run and I will finish. This event is so much more than just a race for me. It’s the finish line for a race that I have been running since December 24th, 2015. Although there is still another surgery in my future it’s the one that is going to make me cute again and not life saving so for me this race marks the end.

When I finished chemo in June of 2015, Mr. Wonderful was so excited for me and wanted to celebrate and make a big deal of the fact that physically the hardest part of this ordeal was over. He wanted me to do a happy dance, one that looked kind of like this…

But I felt so physically ill that celebrating was not even a remote option. It didn’t feel over to me. I wasn’t done yet. So we began walking. I had been walking all along because the Dr. had emphasised how keeping moving would be beneficial for treatment. So we walked. By the last chemo session I was pretty weak and that three mile loop we had been doing became brutal. That 1st walk after my last chemo was a nightmare. I had no strength at all. We didn’t even make it halfway of our normal route and Mr. Wonderful held my hand and dragged me through most of it. But, I kept walking. I walked all Summer in Coos Bay and then all Fall in Eugene during radiation. It was after radiation that I knew I needed a big goal to truly mark the end of this road. I chose the Eugene Half Marathon to be the celebration of all that I have overcome. I chose it because I knew it would be hard and that I would have to be tough both physically and mentally to cross the finish line. I wanted it to be something big but doable. I ran a 1/2 in honor of Aimee in 2010 so I knew that I could do it but I hadn’t done a whole lot of running since then so I also knew it would be a huge challenge.

Fast forward seven months and here I am, 6 days out from the big day. I have run on windy days and rainy days and super cold days. I have listened to countless podcasts and been encouraged to keep pushing forward, I have rediscoverd 80’s music and my 12 year old has introduced me to to the upbeat pop songs of more recent times. All those hours on the road have given me lots of time to relive some of the hardest moments during treatment that I wasn’t able to fully process the first time through… the day the surgeon told me that my breast couldn’t be saved, those last moments with my mom and Mr. Wonderful before they wheeled me off for my mastectomy. The hospital stint after chemo number 3, which involved low white count and a secondary c-diff infection that made everyone who visited me have to wear protective gear (I called it a hazmat suit). In the end, several weeks after that last chemo Mr. Wonderful told me that the hardest part for him was that after chemo 6 I really began to look like death. He said he was glad it was the last one because from the looks of things he wasn’t sure if I would physically survive another round.

Every single time I have added another mile to my run I have teared up in thankfulness at what God is allowing my body to do. To be taken so close to death in order to save your life and then almost a year later be able to run 13.1 miles all at once is quite mind blowing. So, if you are out there on race day and you see me go by with tears streaming down my face, they are not tears of sadness or pain but tears of thankfulness and triumph. Cancer didn’t then and  doesn’t now define who I am. I am a Christ follower, wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, runner and now a writer. I added something to my life through this ordeal, my boobs got taken away but I finally got the courage to write and express myself and make a difference in a new way in the lives of others.

Someone asked me recently to tell them what brings me the most joy on any given day. I said for me right now my biggest joy lands right in the middle of a long run and Overcomer by Mandisa comes up on my playlist.

 

I crank it up and sing it as loud as I can. Fortunately I’m on an old country road and only the cows can hear me. But it’s truly a great feeling. I love the song because it reminds me that this isn’t all there is. Life still has lots of challenges and there are some things that we are continuing to walk through that are difficult. But because God lives in me I know that I have already won. No matter what the earthly outcome is of any given situation in the end… I win.

So, I made myself a pink tutu for the race on Sunday. Craftiness is not a talent of mine so this little beauty was quite an endeavor. And yes the photo is fuzzy and yes that’s my bra on the floor in the background… just keepin it real.

Pink Tutu / Tiffanyaolson.com

Why a tutu you ask? Because it’s fun and because I’m cute and because no matter what is going on in my life and how normal Monday is going to feel, I’m gonna take Sunday and celebrate and fill my lungs with clean air and high five all my peeps who will either be watching or racing on that day. I’m gonna laugh and take the opportunity to celebrate my second chance at life and I am going to be thankful for all of the friends and family members that have sacrificed to help us get to this point.

A highlight in the midst of all of this? My new friend Michelle McCoy who will have just finished round 4 of chemo will jump in and run a mile or so with me along the way! Talk about a rockstar!

On race day they will have a live feed of the finish line on the Eugene Marathon website. It should take me just over two hours to finish. I will be the one wearing the pink tutu.

I love you all!

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Comments

  1. Love you!

  2. You go girl!!!! Can’t wait to see you cross that finish line and celebrate with you. 🙂

  3. Michelle McCoy says:

    Tiffany you are an Overcomer! What a testimony you are to those like me going through the same challenges. You are such a bright shining light! Can’t wait to see you rock the Eugene Half. I’m so very proud of you gal! xoxo!!!

  4. Nancy Goodman says:

    OK…just sayin’….you inspire me! THANK YOU for keeping it real and I LOVE the pink tutu! You start running at 7am…so you should be rounding the corner into Hayward Field around 9ish..I will be in my office at church, watching for you!!!! GO GO GO YOU’RE AN OVERCOMER! i’m a mandisa fan too!

  5. Yay, Tiffany! Looking forward to virtually seeing your cute self cross that finish line! Enjoy the tutu–it’s cute, too.

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