Thursday, April 14, 2016

Running the 10 K … Running for a cause! #GirlsGlory

Life gets hectic with kids. In the past 6 years, I have realized that my life completely revolves around them. It’s all about their schedules, their interests, their nap times, their classes. Somewhere in the middle of ‘them’, I got lost!
Even when I went out to pursue hobbies, I found myself constantly thinking of the kiddos. If it was stitching class, I kept thinking about the dresses I could stitch for little ‘Z’ or the Kurta for  ‘I’ . If  it was a baking course, I would think about how much fun it would be to watch the kids gobble up the treats I made for them. It was all about them!
And then this came my way. A 10 K! I have run a 5K before, but that was hard in fact it took me 40 minutes to finish the 5 K. This was twice the distance and that too it is in May! Sweltering heat in Bangalore.
I registered because one of my young friends said, she would run only if I ran too. I just wanted more people to run for this cause. So I agreed. But in my head I thought, she is young, she can train and she will be fine. I wonder if my bones will keep up with this race. The good thing was we started planning 2 months in advance. Plenty of time to train! I managed to convince 11 other folks including hubby dear to register too! Well hubby dear does not need much convincing. He is fit!
And then I began training. I have 4 weeks more to go before the big day (MAY 15) and I now realize that its not about the race. It’s about what leads to the race! 

1.      Competition: I am competing against …. Well MYSELF. I am not aiming at being better than anyone else. I am just aiming at being better than I was yesterday. I was surprised at how much I can push myself each day. Each day I look at how much I ran the previous day and I push myself to be … faster … run longer.  I never thought I could go beyond 5 K and yesterday I pushed myself to 9 K. I will be staying at 9 K for a while now. 

(picture of my personal best with Google fit)

          Perseverance: There are many days when I wake and say. Oh what the heck lets take a break today. That’s when I remember how hard it was to start the very first day. I know a break will bring out the slacker in me and so I drag myself out, put on my running shoes and get out of the house.
         Weight loss: Well not really. Weight loss is like a bonus to all this! But definitely looking forward to increasing my stamina. The first week that I ran, I came home and slept again! You can say I have the luxury to sleep. But by the third week, I could feel my stamina pick up. I could feel the energy rushing in as I completed my walk each day. It seems like I am on a high. An exercising HIGH.
          Raising fund: This has become a big deal for me. The reason is there were a few of my cousins and aunts who supported me immediately! As soon as I sent the link for support to my cousins, this one cousin pushed over money. It gave me so much encouragement that he trusted my judgement to support my cause and he had faith that I could run this race! Thanks Eldho Kuruvilla! Your faith in me pushed me ahead. I find myself now shamelessly asking people to support my cause. I know I am running a good race. I know the money I raise will be put to very good use.
          Life lessons:  I cannot live LIFE like someone else. I cannot be like someone else.  But I can try and better myself. Whether it is my walk with God, my work, my family, there is only one person (and God) who knows how I did yesterday. ME! I want to do it a little better today... It definitely takes discipline!!!

Now coming to the cause. What am I raising money for? I had a choice to support either an orphanage or a project called Girls Glory! Both were part of an NGO called Reaching Hands.
Girls Glory essentially supports girl’s education by building toilets. In case you are saying ‘Whaaaatt’, here is the way it works. 
Several government schools do not have proper toilet facilities. When girls reach puberty, this lack of facility and privacy is used as a reason to keep girls from going to school. Since every month they will miss school for 5-7 days, they are pulled out of school completely. Girls Glory will adopt government school and build toilets for them. They will educate girls on hygiene and caring for themselves.
When I heard this it made me think of me! I remember those initial years, right after puberty. Life felt miserable. Everything was tough. I remember not wanting to go to school. I cannot even imagine what would have been the state if there were no toilets. Then I looked at my little Ziva and I imagined a situation where she would not have these basic facilities and I knew at once, I wanted to support this cause!

Running for a cause … a cause to put a pause to this world where girls don’t get privacy.
Running to give girls a chance…a chance to have a hygienic protected environment.
Running to change…change the way we train girls to look at themselves.
Running to empower GIRLS!
Running to help them realize that they are created with an ability to reproduce!
Running to help GIRLS realize that life begins with this adolescent age!
Running to help GIRLS feel the blessed that they are GIRLS

If you feel led – please support my cause. Every rupee counts!

A trip to the NICU – A mother’s nightmare

It was a perfect Friday afternoon. I had just delivered a beautiful baby boy. All of 7 lbs 9 oz. He kicked and screamed and peed as he entered the world.
I was enjoying my Saturday with visitors and hugs and flowers and lots of talking about the wonderful birth experience. I was holding my little darling close in my arms , very proud of his wrinkled skin and tiny eyes.
And then Sunday came. There was nothing better than to know that we were going to go home. I got to take my little baby home. And then we got the infamous visit. As a final round to taking little Isaac home, he had a visit with the pediatrician. It was not the pediatrician we had chosen, but another one from the same practice.
The average height slightly paunchy man, with peppered grey hair and thick glasses broke the news.
‘I was checking your son and there seems to be a slight whooshing in his heart. He probably has a hole in his heart’
I remember the entire statement was short and abrupt. No pause, no preparation, no comfort.
‘He may be fine in a few days or he may need heart surgery’
I wanted to scream ‘Do you see how small he is? Are you kidding with the heart surgery’
I sat there numb. I looked at Suresh and I could see that we were just both bravely holding our faces! No tears, just a glazed look in our eyes.
‘I have sent for an echo, we will send the pictures to the Radiologist. But since it is Sunday today, we may have to wait till tomorrow for the results.’
Are you kidding me? I will not know for another 24 hours if my son needs surgery. We had waited for this child for 7 years. We had prayed desperately for 2 years. And now when it was time to take him home, I was being told, well, he may spend the next few months of his life in and out of the hospital.
I work in a Radiation Oncology department and all through my pregnancy as I saw little children come in for cancer treatment, I prayed that God would spare me the sorrow I saw in the eyes of the parents.
And here I  was sitting with something that seemed as unimaginable. Just as he had abruptly entered, the pediatrician left! I sat at the edge the hospital bed. Still sore from the delivery. All I wanted to do was lie down and sleep. But I knew sleep was way off! Suresh sad silently on the sofa across. The phone rang!
‘ Congratulations chechy!’ It was my cousin and he seemed so excited I continued the conversation. But not for too long.
‘How is the little munchkin’. I started to wail over the phone, leaving a very confused receiver. I handed the phone to Suresh as I sought shelter in his arms. Suresh bravely passed on the message. And then we just both cried!
A few minutes later , Isaac came into the room to be fed. I held him tight.  Fear had completely taken over me. There was not even a small part of me that thought that this would just go away. As I burped him and lay him in the crib, he threw up and then it seemed like he was gasping. We panicked and called the nurse.
Another crazy lady! She started talking through the process loudly.
‘Oh he’s probably short of air … we may need to give him some oxygen… yes lets do that’
And then she took him away. It felt like way too much happening, too fast.
A few minutes later, Suresh went to check on Isaac at the nurse’s station. He came back gloomy.
‘He’s doing OK! Breathing with a little oxygen tube. But they are preparing to admit him into the NICU’
Too many scary words in just a few hours. Hole in the heart, NICU, oxygen tube.
And just like that by Sunday evening, when I was supposed to take my first born home, I walking with him to the NICU. He seemed to be doing much better and in fact was screaming of hunger. He seemed feisty enough kick off the pulse oximeter from his crib.  The NICU nurse watched him for a little bit and then turned to me
‘He looks like a fighter. He’s gonna be out of here soon’
That’s all I was looking for. The evening suddenly got better. I actually slept that night more from exhaustion than in peace. As we waited for the results from the radiologist the next day, we got a chance to meet the NICU doctor
‘A pediatrician cannot tell you that your son has a hole in his heart! That’s the job of the radiologist! Your son seems absolutely fine. I had to start him on antibiotics as there seemed to be a risk of infection, we will finish a three day course and then he will be fine’
The radiologist result did not come till Tuesday morning. But by then we did not really care! Looking at a spunky little boy in the NICU we knew we were taking him home soon.
One small mistake. One silly doctor. Two new parents! All we needed to have said was - we will take a second opinion or are you absolutely sure! 

One year and 10 months later we were sitting in the same room. This time there was a little girl in my arms. Pink and pretty! She was glowing.
Enter – A pediatrician. This time a pleasant middle age lady with a smile on her face. She spoke softly
‘ I need to tell you guys something. But I want you both not to panic.’
Suresh and I chimed together ‘Yea she probably has a hole in her heart. It will close in time. When can we take her home?’
This time the pediatrician was confused.  
‘Wow you guys are very cool parents! Congratulations and all the best. We will do an echo and send the results home!’
I love happy endings.