Thursday, September 23, 2010

A New Beginning

Hello friends – it’s been a while since I’ve posted. You’ll have to forgive me – you see, I’ve started this post over and over again, but it never really came together the way I envisioned. And it’s a pretty important post, so I wanted to get it “right.” I guess talking about it makes it real, and up until a week or so ago, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that step We’ve been through a lot together – you and I – and this is just another phase, another part of the process. Thank you for your support – as always, it means the world. Read on!

I’ve always felt that the mountains are calling my name. It doesn’t matter which ones or where; up until recently, climbing Mt. Palomar on my bike was “where I found myself”, I fell in love with Nathaniel all over again while hiking the rugged terrain of Alaska last year, and from my home in Southern California, I find great solace when looking towards the peaks of East County.

Yes, the ocean is wonderful and blue, but give me a winding trail, the promise of a USGS survey marker (or not), hilly topography, and a group of willing friends, and I know – regardless of elevation gain (or loss), cold temperatures, and the threat of bears – I’ll be happy.
I never really knew how much I enjoyed hiking and backpacking until this past year – first as a way of recovering from last year’s Ironman Coeur d’Alene, and then more recently when I kept falling ill. Times were tough, as they would be for anyone, but I always felt happy while hiking distant peaks. I felt alive. I felt normal and healthy. I felt like myself.

Training and preparation for races fell to the wayside, with one bad health episode after another. Between too many sinus infections to count, pneumonia, the DVT/PE (remember what I said?: GO to the nearest hospital IMMEDIATELY if you start getting a cankle or any sudden swelling) – this year has been completely different from last.

I don’t have any regrets though, and I’m dealing with the anger and sadness. Nope – it’s not fair; but then again, life rarely is for anyone. And just when we think we’ve got “stuff” figured out, Mother Nature throws another curve ball our way.

If anything, this year has taught me to roll with the punches, take myself less seriously, do the things I love with the people I love, tell Nathaniel I love him multiple times every day, call my friends and family more often, and embrace the simple pleasures – because at the end of the day, it’s the simple things that make the biggest difference.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had odd blood test results. My counts were always a bit off – too low on one end, not properly formed in a different way, with all sorts of different markers in between to add an extra bit of confusion and exasperation. I remember telling Nathaniel a little over a year ago that, “something isn’t right….” – but not knowing what it was OR how to test for it.

When I switched to Scripps from the Navy Health Care, my doctors immediately noticed a few abnormalities. But we thought – in part – it was due to the pneumonia and multiple sinus infections. I was due for another round of blood tests late June or early July – but when my body decided to form, develop and grow a major thrombosis, and subsequently throw a sizeable clot into my lung (directly through my heart…. Do not pass Go….do not collect $200…. Go directly to Jail) – the planned testing fell to the wayside, and instead I had multiple blood drawings for various reasons.

And still; my counts were off, my numbers were WAY out of whack….but there was no “real” indicator that something major was wrong. From the outside, I appeared a happy and healthy late 20-something female – with a love for Peanut Butter Cups and Swedish Fish. I was extremely active, did most of the things I wanted to do (minus the open water swimming bit… we ALL know my fear of sharks), and followed a healthy lifestyle. It just didn’t add up.

Eventually (and trust me when I say this could be a LONG post, so I’ll cut to the chase) – I was referred to one doctor, who referred me to another doctor….who ordered an entirely new round of testing. A few results came back positive, and towards the end of August I found myself on a first name basis with the phlebotomists at my health clinic.

Awesome.

You know it’s just fantastic when you have multiple standing orders at the lab – from different doctors.
But throughout this ordeal – I kept reminding myself that it could be much worse….and that I have so much to be grateful for, am lucky in so many ways. I knew that Nathaniel was concerned, and he did the best he could to support me through this process. It’s hard answering his questions when, half the times, I didn’t even have the answers myself.

When I was first given the prognosis of “lupus” – I didn’t know what that meant. Naturally I turned to Wikipedia (and yes – I’m sure my doctors are rolling their eyes), and other medical sources online. I wanted to know more about my diagnosis – information is, after all, power. Also, I wanted to be prepared for a long list of questions for my doctor(s).

Would you be surprised, if I said that I researched and wrote down tons of questions?

No – I didn’t think so. There were three full pages of inquiries (double sided). I’ve always been thorough.

Essentially (and you’ll have to bear with me, as I’m still learning myself), Lupus is a type of auto-immune disorder, where one’s immune system attacks its own body’s cells and tissues. There’s no real understanding of why someone has it, and every case that presents itself is different. The course of the disease is extremely unpredictable, with periods of illness (called flares) alternating with remissions. Lupus is known as one of “The Great Imitators”, because it often mimics or is mistaken for other illnesses. Diagnoses can vary widely between patients, and some people can suffer for years with undiagnosed symptoms.

In my case – my doctor’s believe that I’ve had this for at least ten years, but most likely many many more.

The great news – is that we’ve got medication that can help control the flare-ups. I’m starting on a very basic Lupus medication, and we’ll see how my body responds to the therapy. I’m trying to stay positive; because I would rather know than not know.

Thus far, my doctors believe that the Lupus is affecting me in three specific ways: 1) High Photosensitivity 2) Hematological 3) And I tested positive for something called Lupus Anticoagulant.

What does this mean?

Well – for starters, exposure to sunlight can affect my health. As someone who loves to be outside, leads an active lifestyle, and lives in Southern California – This. Just. Plain. Sucks. Ass. For years – in spite of copious amounts of sunscreen use – I’ve dealt with sunburns and redness. And the difficult part? I thought it was my fault – I thought I was doing something wrong. So…. Major photosensitivity – check. (Suddenly retirement to the Pacific Northwest or Alaska doesn’t seem so far reaching. Except for the bears, of course.)

And my Photosensitivity in turn, can lead to Hematological flare-ups. Without getting into too much detail, my white blood count in extremely low, red blood cells are oddly shaped, and my body’s ability to fight off infection just plain sucks. And there’s some other stuff – but well, I’ve thrown a lot at you already. But it is what it is, and in spite of my best efforts – I can’t will myself to feel better. This is unlike a race, not at all like going for a run… I can’t just will myself to finish. It’s a different beast all unto itself; not tangible, something I can’t touch and make better through practice or perseverance. It’s all part of a process – one that I’ve gradually learned to accept.
I don’t like it – but I’m learning to accept it. I think that’s why this post has been so difficult to write, and more difficult to publish.

The third component is a bit trickier, and something that raises a red flag immediately, especially given my history of extreme DVT/PE. If you want someone who can grown one heckuva blood clot, that would be me. The Lupus Anticoagulant means that I naturally produce “sticky blood” and have a higher predisposition towards clotting. I’ve had two tests that both came out positive for this, and will be taking a third (blood test) in early November. As of now, we’re assuming that blood thinning medication will be a lifelong plan.

I’ve spent the past three or four weeks trying to figure out what all of this means – both short term and long term. It’s no longer about training and racing….right now I just want to enjoy the Little Stuff with my friends and family – things that make me happy. And I’m grateful for the opportunities where I get to do just that.
The theory is that I’ve had a major flare-up since sometime last September 2009 – when I first started feeling ill and having breathing difficulties. I spent SO much time in the sun during my IM Hawaii buildup, and there were undoubtedly other stressors that triggered the flare. From a triathlon perspective, part of me is really sad when I think about this. I didn’t feel like “me” going into Kona, but chalked it up to Ironman training and the fatigue that can accumulate with a long season. I think I could have done so much better in Hawaii had I been healthy –

And I’ve cried so much about that already that I don’t want to cry any more. Because looking back on it, that was seriously one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and it saddens me to think that I may not have had the race that I could have had – through no fault of my own accord.

On the flip side…I wish I could go back and give myself a hug. I am so proud of what I did, of how I physically and mentally held it together throughout the entire IM process. And doing it while dealing with a major Lupus flare-up, makes me love the person that I am even more. It wasn’t easy – but I did it. I also have some pretty incredible friends and family to thank – your support means even more...I didn’t go it alone, that’s for sure.

And now I understand why it was so different from Ironman Coeur d’Alene. I never thought I would say this – but thank goodness for ‘May Grey’, ‘June Gloom’ and coastal fog. I never thought a weather phenomenon could affect my health for the better, but apparently it can.

Remember what I said before about retiring in Alaska or the Pacific Northwest? Minus the bears, it sounds pretty darned good right about now.

But to talk about my Lupus diagnosis in terms of triathlon seems silly and superficial. There is so much more at stake than this sport.

My long term and short term goals remain largely the same: lead a happy and healthy life….doing things I love with the people I love. And as always – everything else is just icing on the proverbial sheet cake.

When I first learned of my diagnosis – especially with regards to the hematological and lupus anticoagulant (and a lifetime on blood thinners) – my thoughts were not with this sport, or never racing a triathlon again (one of my new mottos: never say never). Instead, I thought about my life with Nathaniel.
Even though we’ve been together for over ten years (holy cow!) – there is still so much we want to do, an entire lifetime ahead of us. I would gladly trade all the sports in the world, if I could just wake up next to him, share a cup of coffee, and do all the things we love to do….the simple things. Going for a hike, walking to the Daily News Café for breakfast, Pizza Port for a pint…

The thought of NOT being able to enjoy life the way we have because of my health saddens and scares me. I know that I’m not the only one, though. Anyone (and their family/friends/loved ones) dealing with a major illness or health scare, shares these same sentiments.

The flip side: I’m not willing to let my health get in the way of my happiness – because there is SO MUCH to be grateful for. So…. I might not be able to bike safely because of the blood thinners… but that doesn’t mean I can’t continue to run and swim. Or go backpacking with friends…Or dabble in outrigger canoeing….Or get in a rowing shell again….Or...climb 10,000+ foot peaks in search of a USGS Survey Marker while watching the sun set....Or – the possibilities are simply endless.
For so long I’ve been focused on triathlon and doing the very best that I can within this sport. And that takes A LOT of dedication, a large commitment – both from me, but also from my family/friends. Anyone who pursues a passion (athletics, but anything – for that matter… music….art….work….etc) – knows that it takes time, dedication, sacrifice, commitment, and a whole host of other adjectives. I think the most successful individuals are those who can balance – who manage to pursue excellence with having fun and enjoying life/family/friends/etc.

Last year, I never ever ever would have spent a week backpacking through Yosemite. Not that I wouldn’t have wanted to… but I was too afraid of missing a key workout, of not being totally focused and 100% ready when I lined up on the starting line. That’s in part, what made me a successful athlete – that’s what it took for ME to be ready on the starting line. Complete focus… some people can do it differently, though. And that’s okay.

This year, well – we all know that it’s been different. And as such, I’m doing things that I wouldn’t normally have done in the past. It’s not a bad thing; I’ve finally accepted the fact that I’m in a very different place. One isn’t “worse” or “better” than the other – it’s just called life.

Not biking has been hard for me. And with a lifelong dependence for blood thinning medication, I have some pretty big personal doubts about my ability to race triathlon in the future. Staying healthy is hard enough, as I never know when I'll have another flare up, or how the flareup will affect me. As for the thin blood: it’s just not safe – and there are no guarantees. I’m at the point where, although I LOVE the sport – it’s the people IN the sport that I love more. Yes…I could probably still bike outside; but at what cost?
I know the chances of bike crashes and accidents are slim, and I’ve had a pretty safe record in the past. But I have crashed my fair bit as well…and I know how precious life is, how much I love my friends and family – internally bleeding to death because EMTs can’t stop my blood flow is NOT how I want to go. I don’t think I could happily ride my bike, if every time I went out, I was worried about my safety – worried that one crash and an inability to stop my blood flow could end it all.

Seriously – knowing my luck, it would probably happen on my FIRST ride out.  And for those who are wondering – this is EXACTLY why I have a hard time swimming in the open ocean. Yes – I love love love the water; but this is totally superseded by my conviction that with any stroke, I could be eaten by a giant shark below. Is it likely? No. But still…. The worry is there. Back to the bike and returning home safely-

Honestly – I think about that every time I go for a ride…but to have it heightened by the knowledge that I’m a lifelong Coumadin person – that’s hard. Some people can deal with that, and maybe one day, I’ll be able to as well. I just know that in the interim, there are SO many things that make me happy – so many experiences that I get to enjoy.

And at the end of the day, I want to be able to enjoy a long and happy life with my friends and family – doing the things that WE love to do. Together. The pressure of planning a race season and subsequently worrying about NOT getting sick is not something I want to deal with. The "not knowing" is the worst - as it is for many people. I’ve had a hard enough year, had enough near-death experiences that I’m a different person from 365 short days ago. I’m looking at life with a different pair of glasses, so to speak.

I’ll continue to run and swim for as long as I can. And maybe I’ll hop into a rowing shell… it’s been 10 years since I rowed seriously – who knows? The worst that can happen is that I flip a boat – and having done that twice already, it’s not all that bad. Then there’s the backpacking…. Nathaniel and I are already planning a through hike of the Lake Superior Hiking Trail sometime next year (health permitting)… although I had such a fun time in Yosemite with a great group of friends, that I’m reconsidering…..

Some of my happiest memories have been in the sport of triathlon. I wouldn’t be the person I am, without those experiences. I’ve also learned so much about myself – who I am, why I do the things I do, how to be happy – while participating in this sport. And I’ve made some of the most incredible, absolutely BEST friends ever. Triathlon (for me) is less about swim-bike-run, and more about the amazing athletes and supporters that I call friends.
I’m embarking on a new stage of my life. It’s been really hard to write this post – because I know to a certain extent, that I’m closing a door on one chapter of my life. But when one door closes, another always opens. At least – that’s how I’m looking at it.

On a deeper level though – there are ALWAYS doors open, all around. It’s just a matter of whether or not we choose to go through them. For so long my door has lead me to the sport of triathlon and elite racing. Now – I find myself heading for a different path all together.

I’ll still write and take pictures – continue to train for my November half marathon…but I’m excited about the prospects of trying new things. There is no “right” way to this wonderful adventure we call life. There will be some new bits as well – backpacking, and who knows what else? The possibilities are, I’m happy to say, endless.

I’ll conclude by quoting myself – I was reading over my IM Hawaii race report the other day. Just before I started with the actual race report, I wrote the following. For what it’s worth – I still feel the same way today.

It is what it is; it became what it was meant to be. And in the end, I can only take away the experiences and learn my lessons accordingly. This is life, and I feel very fortunate to have these opportunities in the first place. And for that I am grateful, and happy.


I guess some things always stay the same. Thank you for your love, friendship, and support. And as always – hug your family, tell your friends that you love them, and take the time to enjoy the little things… because that is what truly makes a difference, what makes us who we are.

47 comments:

Lauren said...

Amazing post. Very brave, Very honest.

Wanted to share another blog with you: http://www.thechloeconspiracy.com. I've virtually known Chloe for 6-7 years. She started her blog to deal with learning to live with lupus, but it's spiraled out of control from there, lol She's the ultimate fashionista,really funny and an amazing photog.

Kathrin said...

It's good that you finally have the name of the beast. But a beast is still a beast.

All the best for your path of acceptance and discovery... Seems like you are on the right track!

Kim said...

Marit - What a post. The great news is that you know the real deal and you can now address the issues that comes along with it. You're so brave, so honest and you know in your heart why you've loved sport, and what you got out of it, but what you've gained from your experiences can never be taken away. You can apply them in every other area of your life. You're a great person you have so much left to experience. You're doing great!

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

Wow...I'm so glad that you were finally able to get some answers as to what has been causing all of your health problems.
I loved reading this post because again, it talks about how we really need to focus on what is important in our lives.
I want to wish you the best of luck in your new path!

beardies3 said...

Marit, you have your priorities straight and you have a positive attitude. You have developed much strength of character through this, likely more than you ever wanted. :-) You will prevail. From experience, I can tell you it can be done. Hugs from me and the beardies3.

Molly said...

You are AMAZING for your positive attitude in the face of all of this. Wish I could be there to give you lots of hugs in person, but in the meantime let me know if you need ANYTHING and hopefully I'll see you sooner rather than later :-)

Jody said...

i'm sure it took alot to share all that, and you did it so eloquently. i am glad you have answers now! and it was your posts that made me get an ultrasound on my leg after having some severe pain, it was not a clot, but if it had been i would have had you to thank for saving my life! best of luck! I look forward to reading about your new endeavors!

Leana said...

Thank goodness you have some great doctors that have been trying to get you answers! Tough answers I know, but you do have some answers now. I just want to wish you all the best on this new path. Thanks for giving us the reminder to hug our loved ones. All the best.

Kelly said...

I can't even begin to imagine how difficult this post must have been for you, BUT I am so encouraged and inspired by your reflections on your circumstances. Thank you for taking the time and the courage to share with us.

Kristin said...

You're very strong and very inspiring. I hope this new path is surprising and fulfilling, it sounds like you will make the absolute most of it.

ironmomma.com said...

I love you sister.

Jennifer Harrison said...

Marit,
Gosh, it has been a great ride and at times a super tough ride for you! I am so glad you are feeling good and have the support of friends and family around you!! (me included!). And, that we get to train for a 1/2 marathon too - and have some fun while training too! :) x

Beth said...

Gosh Marit - I'm not certain what to say! Other than - you are an amazing woman, very brave and no matter what life brings I know you will make the most of it and find a way to live the life that YOU want to live. You have amazed me time and time again in the few shorts years we've known each other. I know you won't stop now. Many hugs from Oscar and I.

Teresa said...

For starters....YES...move to the NW. We can ride inside together!

Secondly....I understand this is such a challenge and you are approaching it with grace and style and the true understanding of life. You are not moving on but moving up in life.

I understand the struggle with kona. And every race for me has been to just get through. To think that your health was being compromised at the sometime takes that race to a whole other level. And you still persevered.

We all know the talent you have and are capable of....but truly it is the amazing friendships that you have created and the people you have inspired.

We are in this together girl!

Xoxo

tn

mtanner said...

I thought then and I still think now that you are one AWESOME CHICK!
You are the real deal sister. I just wish we lived in the same town. It truly is your positive attitude that sets you apart. email me anytime:

runrchick@comcast.net

TriGirl Kate O said...

xoxo

Angela and David said...

I just want to give you a big hug. Your post was so raw and brave. A good friend's wife has lupus and she is now pregnant with their second child. Please let me know if you'd like to talk to her. She's awesome and so strong and might be a great resource for you.

Emily said...

Marit - what a brave & amazing post. I'm in awe of your positivity and your strength. You are an amazing person!!

rocketpants said...

Thank you for your post and posts. I am a long time lurker and when I saw this post I thought I should at least point you to a very good friend of mine's food blog. http://jessthomson.wordpress.com/

She was diagnosed originally with Mix Connective Tissue Disease that has predominately appears as lupus. She has some great recipes as well as insights into life with lupus.

I'm so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I actually know quite a few other people who have lupus and can say that they still live full lives and you are taking it all in stride. There will be good and bad days as with anything.

JMoTriBella said...

Damm, Marit! What a year for you. You have me in tears reading this post. Your acceptance of your situation is beyond beautiful, and I know that whatever cards are dealt your way, you will always make the best out of your circumstances.

Sushi or hiking/climbing soon? Please?

Hugs!

-Jess

San said...

Whoa, what a post and what a diagnosis in more than one way.

I'm glad that you finally know what the underlying problem is, because now you can concentrate on the solution. Which is a major improvement.

However, triathlon isn't over, you just have to adjust your goals and training. I'm sure you'll figure those out and just think of the new possibilities. (Extreme "violining", "violining" marathon, bear "violining"(playing the violine while running from the bear in dark woods))

I think you are holding up just fine and I'm glad that you are still around.

Sending you lots of love and hugs,
San

ADC said...

I've been waiting for your blog post for some time. I love the way you write. You had lots of time to think about all this since we last chatted (and I can't wait to skype again this weekend:))). I think all you need is to talk to people like Nate and Shaun to realise what are true values in life and what is really truely important in life. And talking to Shaun during his R&R has really opened my eyes to these things. Yes of course we know all about them but we never really honestly appreciate how much there is to life. Shaun has not been running or training for a while now and that is not important to him right now. What is important is staying alive and keeing his soldiers alive and I know 100% that is same for Nate. Shaun wrote to me the other day about the enemy firing at one of their checkpoints and in the process a little 7 year old boy was injured and died on his arms. I mean, what is triathlon comparing to that? And you are so strong and so so so amazing and you know that there is no better way of spending your life than with Nate and your family and friends (and we cannot wait to see you guys). As you said, everything else is icing on the cake. And for the record I will always think that your KONA performance was one of the best and bravest I know.

LZ said...

Marit,
You are truly and amazing person. I am inspired by your outlook on life. And although from you post it took a long time to get there, it is brave of you to put it all out there and write about it. You have so many great points about living life now, new open doors you need to find, that I hope you continually come back and read what you have written to keep reminding yourself all you have done and have left to do. Enjoy all the new adventures that are to come your way and I look forward to reading about them!

Kim said...

marit - just sent you an email. you are a strong and amazing woman. we love ya.

Alili said...

You continue to amaze and inspire so many, not because of your athletic accomplishments but because of your genuine passion for living life. I am glad that you have answers, but more importantly I am glad you are taking advantage of the opportunities ahead of you. Every day, a new adventure. Big hugs to you Marit.

Angi Axmann said...

I have no words, I think my mouth was open the entire time reading the post. You are an amazing person!!! If you two are ever thinking about hiking in the Grand Canyon let me know. JR and I will join you. We love that place, it is a beautiful spot to hike for a week or so!!! Let me know.

Courtenay said...

I love the thought you put into this post, and the photos are all excellent!

Hang in there, and I am so happy for you that you have an explanation and an understanding of what has been going on. I love the idea of you getting back in a boat!

Best,
C

Chris Menjou said...

Wow, Marit, what a tough post to write. I am also described as "unusual" by my pulmonologist, and had PES 3 months after going off coumadin from the first round (43 YO, did IMAZ and Wildflower long just before the first PEs). Still haven't found a cause, but am also a lifer (or, as they like to call it, "indefinite" :) ) I also went through the grieving process about what my life used to be like, and what it was now like. As you say, unfair, but there it is.

I am very active and have decided to continue racing, but will train differently, mostly on a CT inside, when I ride outside I will avoid certain groups and certain locations. It has also allowed me to branch out and also rediscover things I lost while being a type A triathlete. I also just got a home INR testing machine so I can be in control of my INR and will know weekly where it is. I highly recommend this.

Anyway, sorry this is so long, but if you ever need to vent, or advice, or a chat, about the thinners or training or... I am a friend of Cat's, and she knows how to get in touch with me. I know what it's like to have your life seemingly pulled out from underneath you. But now it's just a new normal.

Good luck....

cherelli said...

So glad you managed to get this down and write about it. I'm so sorry of hear of all that you've been still going through - but I'm glad there's a name now to put to it all. A friend of mine recently also got diagnosed with lupus...and it being an auto-immune disease just does not make it simple. Still, I'm glad you've been out hiking and enjoying the outdoors! It may not be a "PR setting zone" but the goal of reaching the mountain is still worthwhile - especially the views! I'm with whoever else said it - but "come to the NW"! It's beautiful but it rains a lot! You can become a Whistler snow-shoeing bunny :) I look forward to seeing your beautiful outdoor hiking pictures. Again Marit, thanks for the inspiration and positive attitude, I thik it helps all of us keep life in perspective :)

Beth said...

I have been reading for a long time but time but never posted before. I have been thinking about you a lot and have been checking regularly, hoping for an update.

I am sure the first part of the diagnosis and getting everything under control is going to be trying, but I have no doubt that you will be spending lots of time doing the things you enjoy, even if you are not able to do all of them right now. I want to thank you for your post, your attitude, and your reminder to treat every day as special.

Cy said...

Marit - You are such an incredibly strong woman. You've proven time and time again that your spirit and attitudes grants you the power to thrive when faced with adversity. You are such an inspiration!!

A sincere thanks for the reminder to focus on the special things in life...

All the best~

E.L.F. said...

YOU are a champ.

Nothing more needs to be said.

Greg Remaly said...

Marit, wow, amazing post - I'm glad you put the time and thought into it, because it shows.

There're so many mountains to climb, laps/lakes/oceans to swim, places to run, and great works of military history to read...I'm excited for you as you embark down this new path full of new challenges.

Even though we met through triathlon, we became friends for reasons well beyond the sport, and so our friendship will continue as long as we're both breathing air (or perhaps even longer?).

Looking forward to reading about your new adventures, seeing you, and sharing this journey called life. Just don't move to the great NW before I can fit in at least a few more visits!

Charisa said...

Awesome post. I think you are embarking on a new adventure and it will be even better than the last because of your great attitude!

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Marit, your positive attitude will carry you through all the adventures you choose to have.

kerrie said...

wow. i feel like i have followed you through a lot of this and your acceptance of whatever life throws your way continues to amaze me. this diagnosis really sucks, for so many of the reasons you mentioned, but i know you will find your way. you will continue to inspire us all!

Shachi said...

Wish you a healthy future Marit....you're a fighter n an optimist.....love your positive attitude! Keep writing, as it is so inspring!

Herrad said...

Hi Marit,
Good to see your post.
Enjoy the moments.
Please visit my blog and pick up your You Inspire Me Award.
Love,
Herrad

runningyankee said...

you. are. amazing. it takes guts to not only face these obsticles but to put them out there on display. we are all here for you in any way you need. chin up.

hugs
kari

Heidi Austin said...

wow girl. I don't know where to start or what to say... You have been such an inspiration to me along your journey. Keep your chin up and keep living life to it's fullest. There is so much more to life than swimming, biking, and running. I find we all get way caught up in it all and fail to appreciate the more important things in life like friends, husbands, health. I have so much respect for you and am glad that you are living life with such a positive outlook. Please email me if you ever need anything girl. sending good vibes your way :)

BriGaal said...

you are one strong chica. if anyone can handle this, it's you!

Mary said...

In shock here. What a brave soul you are and what a blessing to have such an incredible attitude! You have a better outlook than those who seem to 'have everything.' You know what though, you do have everything. You have a very loving family, friends, and a wonderful life. I know you have and always will continue to covet that. My thoughts are with you...
Hugs!

Libby said...

wow marit. beautiful post, I'm in tears. you are such an inspiration for not only what you've been through but for the positive attitude you've found in dealing with it. you are teaching us all valuable lessons on life and for that, I am grateful for you! I'm excited to follow you on your new adventures in life and no matter what, you were always MUCH more than just a talented athlete.

Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

Marit,
I'm so sorry about the diagnosis. I am so amazed by your ability to handle this and be so positive. I too, am exicted to following your new adventures.

PJ said...

I'm sorry to hear about the diagnosis, Marit. You truly are one of the most amazing people I have come across. The world would be a better place if everyone could have the attitude you do.

As someone with two auto-immune diseases, I know what it's like to have that "I will have this for the rest of my life" feeling. It's maddening at times & you're fully allowed to get angry but then you move on and deal with it as best as you can -- exactly what you're doing. Lupus has nothing on you, my friend.

Mary IronMatron said...

I'm sorry about the diagnosis, Marit. I'm so sorry. I have a friend with lupus, so I know the struggles that it brings. You are brave, and this is a brave post. Hugs.

Bob Mitera said...

Marit - sorry to be tardy to read this. Great perspective! I know several with lupus. How about an adventure race in WA state?

Bob