Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 24, 2010

In case you wondered, no current news on this blog means good news. Sofie is doing well but I thought I would journal some thoughts....

Sofie is an athlete. Before dance became the predominant sport in her life, she was a natural born runner. She could out run any of the boys her age in a foot race. At age 4, she biked 14 miles on training wheels for the annual Kelly School fundraiser. She began racing on skis in first grade and in 2nd grade broke her leg when one of her tips got caught on a gate and yanked her leg backwards. She couldn't wait to play real football with an all boy team in 5th grade and could lob the ball long range right at her target. She hiked long distances at a young age too. She followed Jeff and I wherever we hiked. The year before her diagnosis she summited the Middle Teton and the Static without any visible signs of fatigue. For the past 2 years, she has raced in a kayak for the pole pedal paddle in great time. As a dancer, she has been in the studios 20 hours a week after school and on Saturdays pushing her body to better performance heights.

My husband is also an athlete. He has summited many a Teton mountain peak. I've lost count of how many triathlons, LOTOJAs, marathons and other races he's finished. He has mastered the Snake River in his raft, Togwotee on his snow machine, and the back country on his skis. He's traveled the Jackson skies in his paraglider. He's found himself in life threatening positions and has demonstrated the utmost grace under pressure.

I myself am not an athlete. I can snow ski due to a father who made sure he got his 3 young daughters out on the slopes year after year as I was growing up. I do, however, PROUDLY refer to myself as a walker. I love to walk/hike wherever, anywhere. I summited those 2 Teton peaks with Sofie and Jeff although I finished them looking a lot like an old worn-out lady. Last February I registered for a "walker friendly" marathon. I found out by the end of the race that I can get a much better time than I anticipated. I was able to run 15 miles of it. Who woulda thunk it? Last June I finished another one with my sister. I think that one was harder. The last quarter or so was somewhat excruciating. My large toenails have still not recovered.

So when Sofie's surgeon gave us her diagnosis he used an analogy that we could all relate with. He kept saying that her treatment would be long and hard. Although I appreciated his candor, it felt very ominous. He said it would be the "marathon of her life." Had I not actually run a marathon, that analogy would have been completely lost on me. I still remember what the 18th mile felt like, the 22nd, the 24th, and certainly the last. They are the longest and hardest. While running in those races I constantly wondered if I would finish. You cant know what your body is capable of until its pushed to its limits.

A few nights ago, Sofie said in a moment of distress, "I don't feel like a person anymore, Im just 'cancer'." The night before she left Jeff and I a note on the fridge after midnight thrilled that she had come upstairs by herself to get OJ and yogurt by sliding on her butt. She signed the note, "Love, Cancer." No doubt, cancer strips almost everything away from you, even after you think it's taken away all it could. I didn't have an answer for her. Her feelings could not be argued with. Finally I replied, "You're right, you've been stripped of a lot, but you have absolutely no comprehension of what God will replace it with." When Sofie asked her doc if she would ever be the same he said, "No. You will be better." We are in the second half of Sofie's marathon and she is tiring. She is weary of her illness. She now recognizes that there are times when she is running alone and has has to draw on her own strength at those moments. We are running her support but cant endure cancer for her. No news on the blog simply means we are enduring the last half of the race. Everything is going predictably by scientific standards. How grateful we are for that, everyday, so grateful for that. It's exhausting and at times crushing but she's in the race being cheered on by friends and family who visit with her day to day. She transitions back and forth between silly Sofie and stoic Sofie, always replacing tears with giggles. It's my privilege to be her mother and learn the most important lessons life has to offer. We are finishing with the life support of many around us. Thank-you for serving in our time of need. May we be in a position to pass it forward.



  1. This post chokes me up.

    Thank you, thank you, for writing it and giving us a window into how things are for Sofie.

  2. Thank you so much for this inspiring post. I wish I knew what to say to return the favor. You're all in my prayers.