Have you ever been a part of something so incredibly fantastic that you’ve been nearly muted by the awesomeness of it? Something that you struggle to put words to because no word seems adequate enough? Something that you find yourself unconsciously holding back on because you know the person across from you didn’t experience it and will surely have jolts of envy shooting through them to hear it? I have. For the past month, my mind has been bursting and my fingers itching to attack the keyboard, but my voice unnervingly silent. And then, this morning I went to Dear Physio, an hour long appointment filled with IMS needles, and it all came flooding out of me.
Medtronic Global Heroes, holy freaking hell, I did that – I am that!!!
OH. MY. GOODNESS.
The moment we walked off the plane, I felt like a rock star. There was a sign – a sign! – greeting us. Our bags were carried; our pockets filled with snacks; and a chauffeured car waiting. Oh yeah, and a wallet full of spending money too!!! (To, ahem, cover the costs of our luggage and any meals that weren’t provided (of which I think there were maybe two)).
Where do I even begin?
I knew that this weekend was going to be huge. I had read several online accounts from Global Hero bloggers of previous years, and had studied the Global Heroes website and the faces on the website like no one’s business. But as much as I love the written word, it doesn’t compare to experiencing it in the flesh. The moment I walked into the banquet room of our first mixer, my skin prickled with goosebumps. Everything about ME felt right.
Instantly I was enveloped by 24 fellow Global Heroes, men and women of all ages and all sorts of medical “ailments” and technology – none who have let their diagnoses get in the way of them rocking life to the core. There was my pal Dion, the stoic man from Christchurch, New Zealand, who had a spinal cord stimulator implanted to manage pain after being wounded in an Afghanistan deployment; he ran the 10-mile on crutches. My neighbour chickie Miss Carmen, from Mississippi/Florida, who not only has one of the easiest smiles I’ve seen, she also has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator to treat cardiomyopathy. She did the 10 mile six months pregnant, wearing a closet full of sweaters to stay warm… those Floridians! And Sarah, the girl with the chicest glasses (yes, I was all over those glasses!) who, before getting a pacemaker, spent her adolescence fighting daily blackouts, and struggling to get through a conversation without first running out breath. She ran the marathon, dreaming of the day she gets implanted with a bright pink pacemaker (hint-hint Medtronic).
Crystal Gail, who just one year ago was lying in a hospital bed with sutures following the implantation of a neuromodulator to manage chronic pain. She’s run 547 miles since and was the driving force behind the Black Lives Matter protest re-channeling into a rally next to the race, not in front of it. And Mike, oh man, Mike. This guy, an eye specialist, who diagnosed his own heart condition. This guy, an avid cyclist too, was run off the road while out for a ride just last year, he suffered a major shoulder injury, but opted to postpone surgery in favour of being a Global Hero. He killed his 10 mile time and few days later was under the knife getting his shoulder repaired.
So many fantastic stories. All worthy of the heroism title. And the crazy thing, I was one of them!
I think maybe that’s the hard part for me to truly comprehend. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m awesome – you guys know I know I’m awesome – but I never really thought of my diabetes and my running with diabetes as anything extraordinarily special, it’s just something I do. It’s me.
But that’s the thing, right. Diabetes didn’t end my run. Diagnosis didn’t end any of our runs. Not Akende’s; not Luciana’s; not Delphine’s; not Liga’s; not Sergei’s; not Camilo’s; not Jack’s; not Carmen’s; not Laura’s; not Wen’s; not Sally’s; not Yoshitaa’s; not Kenji’s; not Tomas’; not Nicola’s; not John’s; not Melanie’s; not Mike’s; not Dion’s; not Silvia’s; not Crystal Gail’s; not Sarah’s; not Yulong’s. Not mine.
And that is pretty freaking awesome!
… oh, and that spending money… wellllllll, let’s just say someone got a new hoodie and standout pink sunglasses!!!