Sunday, August 14, 2011

Give and Get Fit - Thank you...but now it's time to join us in our walks!

About two months ago I decided that I wanted to figure out a way to raise money for the Heart Walk, which will be taking place in September. I started to brainstorm different ideas and knew that creating an event that took place at Rehab United would be the most beneficial. There are so many positives to working at Rehab United, but one huge plus is the amount of support that each of us has for one another. My coworkers are my family and there is no denying that, but I also have a huge support group in a lot of the patients that come in regularly. I wanted to focus my time on preparing an event that would be special in so many ways. I pitched the idea to Kristen who has created a team to walk in the Relay for Life this coming weekend in honor of her cousin Katie who has been battling cancer. After an extremely extensive surgery Katie was diagnosed cancer free, which just proves how important it is to raise money for these events.

Sooo...Wednesday night Give and Get Fit took place at Rehab United Kearny Mesa. The number of people that attended is unknown but the turn out was absolutely amazing. We did not have a lot of time to put the event together but we did our best to make it a special night for all who were involved. Kristen and I created poster boards for our two events that consisted of stories of people who have been affected by the two diseases and we allowed people to sign the board. The boards are still up in our clinic and our goal is to have the boards filled up as much as possible. It was incredible to see the support from all who attended. I knew that I had a lot of support behind me but I didn't realize it was that much. It was such a special night.

It's pretty amazing to me that while on the journey through grief you attempt to prepare yourself for days that seem harder than others, but you never really know how it is going to be. The event was something I knew would be a little difficult because it was the first time that I did something in memory of my dad. I kept feeling like I was having to prepare for the service again with all the planning that took place. Writing bio's, choosing food, calling sponsors and donors, and also rushing to get things done was exactly what I went through when planning the service and reception. The only difference this time was that I felt much more aware of the things going on around me. It all felt much more real then it did a week after I lost my dad.

Although I thought that once the event was over life would go back to normal, I was wrong. This past week was undoubtedly one of the hardest weeks I have been through since I lost my dad. I started to feel extremely anxious at the beginning of the week and it only got worse as the week went on. My body went into a complete spasm and I was in a ton of pain. Once the event was over it hit me even more. At that point I was battling a very similar feeling that I felt once the service was over. Thursday I realized that I felt like something was missing. All the time I had been spending trying to plan for the event, meeting with people, and having help all around me was again no longer there. All the emotion behind the event was finished and people were again moving on with their lives as I was still trying to figure out what I was feeling. There were so many different emotions that I didn't know how to deal with all of them. I was extremely happy and moved by the amazing turnout and the support that was shown. I was so gracious for the 1,500 dollars that was raised by having the event. I was also very sad because I missed my dad and knew that he would have loved to be apart of something like this event. And with all that I was also a little angry at a couple things that happened along the way. This may have been the first time that I was forced to deal with so many emotions at one time.

Friday would be the day that I no longer could hold back everything I was trying to hide. I was unable to truly function at work, which was new for me. I could not stop what I was feeling and could not stop the tears that were flowing. All the emotions that were pent up inside of me had made their was out and being that way was embarrassing. It was a panic attack that was out of my control. I wasn't used to losing that much control over my emotions. I wasn't used to not having words to explain what was going on. Luckily the people around me were just there for me. They didn't force me to talk, they just consoled me. The past week, my work family has been so amazing. They have been there every step of the way and never left my side. They gave up time in their days to be there for me and to talk to me. I needed support and the support was there. It wasn't easy walking away from work that day knowing that people now knew how bad I was hurting and how I was struggling. I no longer could hide behind the fake "I am okay".

This weekend my emotions were still a little up and down but they were much better then they had been. I still lost it here and there and at times felt like someone was ripping at my chest but all of this is part of grief. It's not always going to be easy. Grief isn't something that you can wish away, its a part of life and each part of grief has to take place. A few days ago I may not have been able to admit that what I went through needed to happen but as I look back I know it needed to. I think at times I expect to be further along then I am, but I need to keep remembering that it hasn't even been a year yet. Everything I go through is new and challenging. I am living a life without my dad, without a huge part of my life and I am also dealing with a lot of other changes as well. My entire life is different and sadly that is not an exaggeration. I am having to learn how to live differently and rely on different types of people. The love from my dad that was such a huge piece of my day is no longer there. The one person who was always so interested in every part of my life is gone and finding a way to accept that is not always easy. Some days I am okay and I know he is with me but other days I am alone and feel such a huge hole.

Tonight I decided to take a drive down the street and walked/ attempted to run the course that my dad would run multiple times a week. My body wasn't allowing me to actually run as much as I wanted but just being there for the first time since he passed away was an amazing feeling. I have been thinking about going down there to run for a while but it wasn't easy to get myself to go. After the week I had I decided that I needed something to bring me closer to my dad. It was a relaxing time for me, and I found myself talking to my dad as took the course he once loved to run.

I am unsure what the week will hold but I am willing to accept it as it comes. Hopefully the panic attacks will no longer be an issue but if they are I need to allow them to happen. Bottling up emotions is only going to make things worse on me. I am ready to move on but can still look back and smile at how amazing the event was. I am so thankful for the people I have in my life and the support the past eight months. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without all of you. The fact that a group of people were able to come together and raise 1500 dollars to split between cancer and heart disease is absolutely incredible. It just shows that no matter what bad is going on in the world, there is so much good that is also taking place. I feel blessed to have the friends and family that I have. I am blessed that I work in a place where people care so much and are constantly wanting to help. I am thankful that with the support of all of you I was able to make it through my first event in memory of my dad. It would have never been what it was without every single person involved.

Now I have one more thing to's one thing to give money and show support but it is another to actually act on that support. This coming weekend is the relay for life, which will take place downtown at the Embarcadero starting at 9am. Please join Kristen and her team as they walk for 24 hours in hopes to find a cure for cancer. It's 24 hours or even any time you can out of your day to support something amazing. And den...on September 17th 2011 in Balboa Park my team will be walking in the Heart Walk. If it's possible I will be running the 5k in honor of my dad! :) But please join our teams and act on the support you have already shown! Links are below!

Relay for Life:

Heart Walk:

Thank you and God Bless!

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