I first published this in September. But I have gotten a number of new followers since then. The run is right around the corner, so I thought I’d republish! If you already donated, THANK YOU! But if anyone has the urge to toss a few bucks for a good cause, it would be appreciated. Michelle continues to impress me EVERY day, Love you Babe!
My gorgeous wife Michelle gets mentioned a lot in this Blog, it’s because, except when I am on the bike, we are pretty much attached at the hip! The good news is it’s because we like it that way. We make each other smile and laugh, cheer each other up when we are down. Support each other in our endeavors, and reassure each other when we doubt ourselves.
And yep, every chance a get I sneak peaks and check her out! She is 6 weeks older than I am (yep I married an older woman) but she looks 10 years younger than me. She is also an excellent mum to our kids (they love her), a great daughter, a loving auntie, and an excellent friend. The woman really is amazing.
Any one of these would be enough for me to be proud of her. But today, she topped them all.
Years ago, Michelle was diagnosed with Mis-Connective Tissue Disorder. This is an autoimmune disease (similar but very different from lupus). It falls under the umbrella of an arthritic condition. The thing is, unless you know it you’d never know! Does this woman look sick to you?
Nope not to me or most people. So what did she do to make me proud?
This year, Michelle is one of the honorees for the Seattle Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. These are held nationwide, and Seattle’s is the biggest. This morning she got up in front of the kickoff breakfast, a room full of strangers and told her story.
Michelle was a high school state champion runner as well as a gymnast. When I met her, she was running 6 miles a day, and she could run circles around me! She had climbed Mt St Helens, and had set her sights on Mt Rainier.
Then she noticed her fingers an toes were going numb and turning blue. She quickly developed pain in her joints. From there, things started getting bad. At the worst she couldn’t even zip up her pants on her own. She had to push the doctors to finally figure out what was wrong.
And that was the just the start. Her lungs are affected as well, she is down to 54% efficiency (However, this is UP from 50% more on this in a bit). She could no longer run. It’s hard to tell a state champion runner and gymnast you can’t any more. She had to endure trying different meds, the side effects, and finding the right dosage. None of that is easy!
She was telling this story, one I knew by heart, and the crowd was silent, all listening. Even my heart-strings (yep cold and callous me) were pulled.
She then let them know how important the Jingle Bell run was. It raises money for research. It gives hope to the 50 millions Americans (which includes 300,000 kids) that a cure could be found. I could feel the pride bursting inside me.
More so cuz I know the rest of the story. She does NOT sit on her ass and just swallow pills from the doc. She pushes the guy to come up with new ideas, challenges him with her own research and lets him know she wants to be aggressive. My girl is a fighter! (Trust me, she could kick my ass, she used to work security at the mighty P! Plus she is a crack shot!)
So nope she can’t run six miles a day anymore. This woman ran/walked a half marathon 3 years ago in under 3 hours! She forced her non-arthritic friend to go faster so they’d make it!
Nowadays, 5 days a week, she is down in the workout room at the Mighty P, on the treadmill or the elliptical. In the last year, she went gluten-free (except for the occasional mac and cheese or italian dinner (I am a bad influence!)). The no gluten, plus the work outs, allowed her to lose over 20 lbs (NOT that she needed it) and the swelling in her fingers went down so much we had to size down her wedding ring. (She was talking one day, and it just flew across the room!)
So why was I proud? I could see the results of her hard work as she stood up there, I could hear the fight and triumph in her voice, the passion for the cause and joy of being honored like this. I could also see the heads nodding and understanding from the crowd. They loved her.
That was my wife up there, a fighter, a lover, and a true inspiration. And I was so proud it hurt!
(If you have any desire to donate to her walk you can click here. NO pressure, I just appreciate you reading this post! it’s the most meaningful of any I have done!)
Good job babe! You rocked it! I am proud of you and love you!