Saturday we traveled to El Paso to watch the girls compete in their track meet. Mica made the JV squad and threw the discus 66 feet, her personal best. Mia ran two relays: the 4×1600 and the distance medley. In both events she ran a mile, or four laps around the track. Supporting her decision to keep running has been difficult for me. Mike thinks I baby her too much [but technically he thinks I baby all the kids too much]. He thinks we need to help her push through the pain because this is a condition that is chronic. She will be dealing with it for the rest of her life. The last thing I want is for her to give up, but it is SO HARD to watch her suffer.
Right now, her pain is constant but manageable. Some days are better than others, but it hasn’t been debilitating EXCEPT when she runs. During/after each race, her back starts to spasm and she experiences extreme pain. Also, the tenderness to touch that she deals with every day worsens. Even the lightest pressure on her skin hurts. Mia was always the kid that would finish the race with a smile and bop around like she hadn’t done a thing. Everyone would comment on how easy it seemed for her. Now, the last leg of the race is just an excuse to cross the finish line and collapse.
One problem she has is that what she needs is the exact opposite of what is normally done for the runners. If an athlete crosses the line and falls to the ground, they are pulled to their feet and walked around. The trainers rub their backs and shoulders and apply ice to sore muscles. When Mia falls down, it is because her back is spasming and most of the time she can’t talk. She shakes her head when something hurts too bad. We know this, but the people on the field don’t always get it.
After taking this video, Mike and I rushed down to the field. We told them to let her lay down. After about five minutes of deep breathing and stretching out her back she felt much, much better. Her coaches know about her condition, but trainers from other teams at other schools don’t. We have to work with Mia to help her find a way to communicate what she needs. She doesn’t like to draw attention to herself; she doesn’t want to be different. I have a feeling this is going to be a long hard journey for her, but I’m proud of how hard she tries not to let it change her life.
“If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell.” Lance Armstrong