I had my 1 year follow-up (if you don’t know what I am following-up on, click HERE for the full story) with my Radiologist – Dr. Rosenberg at St. Paul Radiology – and everything looks great. This is really good news and means that I will not have any more follow-up for a full year. No CT scans, no x-rays, no doctor visits, and – most importantly – no more doctor bills. Yippee! After next year I may not have to go back at all – even better.
While this is great news, it has given me an opportunity to reflect back and think about what happened, what could have happened, and how that event has changed not only my life – but my family’s life as well. We will never be the same – for the better I hope. What this experience has really taught me is that, no matter what you do, bad things can – and do – happen. There is just no way to shield yourself from all of the possibilities. I am working on living life to its fullest – I’m spending time with my wife and kids (not as much as I’d like), I’m continuing my education, I’m running, and I’m learning – everyday. The last year has brought so many incredible blessings to me – a new son (Peter), my oldest son (Alex) started Kindergarten, my middle boy (David) has learned so much in the last few months it is amazing. I completed the Twin Cities Marathon, was appointed Captain at the Fire Station, received a promotion at work, and so much more. I can’t imagine missing any of it, but at the same time – because of everything that happened – I know that I could have. I think this realization, knowing that it all can be taken away at any time, for any or no reason at all, has made me more appreciative of what I have.
My wife calls my habit of running ‘obsessive’ and she complains that all I think about is running. In some respects, I suppose she’s right. But, the truth is, for some reason, when I run – when I get tired and sweaty, when my lungs are burning, when I am worn out but still have miles to go – I find clarity, calm, and perspective. I know that I am lucky to be there, to be in that moment, to be running at all. When I run I am truly alive – in ways I never have been before. I smile as I churn out the miles. I grin as my legs get more and more tired. Running gives me more respect for what I could have lost and makes me love bigger, work harder, and smile more than I would otherwise. I honestly think that I am a better father, husband, employee, supervisor, friend, and person because I run. What could be better than that?
One year ago when I wrote about what happened to me, I concluded by saying:
Make sure you kiss your kids, enjoy your life, and tell your wife you love her every chance you get. Things happen…
I think this is as important today as I did then. Don’t take anything for granted, because things do happen. You can’t avoid it and you can’t stop it. What you can do is live every day to its fullest, love as much as you can, make sure those around you know how much they mean to you, and – at least for me – run. One of my favorite songs of all time is by Garth Brooks, it’s called “If Tomorrow Never Comes” . I’ve always loved the song (I’ve sung it a bunch of times to each of my boys), and I just want to close this little post with some of the lyrics:
If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she’s my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face the world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes
Cause I’ve lost loved ones in my life
Who never knew how much I loved them
Now I live with the regret
That my true feelings for them never were revealed
So I made a promise to myself
To say each day how much she means to me
And avoid that circumstance
Where theres no second chance to tell her how I feel