Feb. 29 wasn’t just leap day, it also was Rare Disease Day. I wrote in a previous column about See Rare Run, a virtual race to raise awareness for people with rare diseases. Finally, the day had come to run for this great cause. Unfortunately, I also had a nearly two-hour bike ride on my schedule for that day.
When I schedule a workout, I rarely skip it. So, I rode my basement trainer until my backside was screaming at me to get off. Then I refueled with a hearty breakfast and waited for my food to settle. Nothing is worse than trying to run on a full stomach.
The sky was blue and the sun was shining, but my desire to run in the freezing temperatures dwindled with every passing minute. I noticed on the social-fitness app Strava that my brother, Andrew, had already finished his run. Combined with photos of other runners and my kid’s decision to run with me, I finally became motivated to start my run.
It was hard. My head wasn’t in it, my legs were tired from my morning ride, and I pushed myself a little faster than normal because I wanted to finish more quickly. One mile felt like 10, and 3 miles felt nearly impossible. To some, it’s just a 5K, but to others, 3 miles seems equivalent to a marathon. Some days our easy pace feels difficult, and other days we feel as swift as a gazelle.
But I love the parallels between physical exercise, particularly running, and life. When life gets hard, we have no choice but to put one foot in front of the other. We find the good in the hard and discover we are stronger than we thought. We start slowly but progress as the weeks go on. Before we know it, we are moving forward, beyond what we thought possible. Progress is progress, no matter how slow.
Despite my struggles, I was thankful for the ability to run. Many people with rare diseases cannot run or walk. According to See Rare Run, one in 10 Americans suffer from a rare disease, and there are approximately 7,000 rare diseases and disorders. I am one of thousands with Fabry disease, yet I have so much to be thankful for.
I thought of my kids and their futures. Will they live healthily despite their disease, or will they struggle with health issues? For some reason, the Lord gave this disease to my family and me. I’m not sure why, but I hope to use it for good. I hope to grow and learn from it and take every day in stride. I want my kids to keep moving forward, in comfort or pain, with gratitude as their fuel.
Note: Fabry Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fabry Disease News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Fabry disease.
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