Running the Race (on Thankful Thursday)
When I entered Seizure World recently, I thought I saw two different kinds of moms running around the tracks. The Muscle Moms sort of scared me. They were like Soviet Olympians who live their sport, have built up some serious quads and could surely take me out in a dark alley. They’ve been running for years, trying many different drugs, diets, alternate therapies and even brain surgery to help their children fight seizures. Sometimes they took a moment to breathe when one drug worked, only to find out it wouldn’t work for long, or the side effects were unbearable. I’m pretty sure they’re doping just to stay in the race. They keep running.
Then there were the Miracle Moms. They’re in it for the pink sneakers and cute running skorts. They even took time to put on makeup before the race. They got the right medication for their child on the first or second run around the track. Now, I’d never begrudge another mom her miracle. (Though anyone could really be that mom ready to hip-check grandma at Christmas, “That’s MY Tickle Me Elmo for MY child!”) I can find a place to be happy for those Miracle Moms because I really wanted to sprint to the finish with them. “Oh, don’t mind us, scary Muscle Moms, we’re not breaking a sweat because we’re just gonna grab the trophy and get to the nearest dance hall to celebrate.” I’ve been begging to run with them. I tried first to pretend my son wasn’t really even having seizures, “but I still have the cute pink shoes to run with you!” Then I decided to buck the system by trying the dietary treatment first instead of last. After all, I’m pretty sure Miracle Moms drink herbal tea instead of doping to stay in the race. Then I proceeded with fuzzy math to determine that his treatment was sort of working and his seizures were sort of decreasing. “Please, please let me run with you! I’ll even let you put on my makeup!”
That’s when I made my discovery; those Miracle Moms are really Muscle Moms with pink sneakers. Maybe their child’s treatment really did work the first time, but they’ve also cried themselves to sleep, prayed over their kids at night, researched possible treatments before going to the doctor, and felt helpless watching their child’s seizures. And the Muscle Moms, their sneakers are a faded shade of pink. They’re in need of someone to come along and say, “I can’t run this race with you but I can give you new pretty pink sneakers. Let me do this one small thing.”
And that’s how I find myself now; running a race I’ve feared for the past ten years, that I never signed up for, and am certainly not in shape for. But we’re trying new drugs now, waiting to see if his seizures decrease and the side effects are tolerable. I’ve already been here too long and they keep moving the finish line, and I’m not ashamed to say I’ll be doping when I need to. As I look around I find myself grateful to be running with women who are beautiful in pink sneakers and tough enough to beat up any seizure monster in a dark alley.