The HOV Lane Leads to Chicago

I’ve been traveling through fog on a deserted road for the last couple of months. I’ve had the headlights on, but the road remained dark and twisted. If I dared to turn on the bright lights and get a glimpse of the road ahead, it frightened me. So I dimmed the lights, squinted my eyes and hesitantly drove on. In a brief moment of bravery, I turned on the bright lights and took a glance at my surroundings. I discovered the beauty of the HOV lane. People were thumbing a ride with me. No one cared my rate of travel, nor my route, nor the personal investment. Friends were standing by, wanting to help, asking to help, taking action to help. You have called me, emailed me, texted me, commented on my blog, and posted to my FB wall. You have shown up at my house with meals to feed our family and relieved me of cooking for several more weeks. I’ve been overwhelmed by your generosity and blessed by the outpouring of support of our friends. I’m not prone to accept help, but you offered freely, and I discovered immense relief in accepting it. I don’t know how to express my gratitude for the love you have shown me during this frustrating detour, except to let you know that you have made it easier. Thank you for sharing my burden. I needed to pass along my fear and my anger and you allowed it. When I can’t see past the tip of my nose to get through a day, you have taken the wheel and let me stretch out in the back seat and rest until I have the energy to grab the wheel again. This is not going to be a quick trip, and there will be some unexpected stops along the way, but the finish line is on my radar. You have brought light to my path. Thank you for making it possible for me to see through the fog.

The results of our two-week trial have shown that the meds I’ve been on for the last five years aren’t doing the job for me anymore. So it’s out with the old and in with the new. I’m trading in for a different model, the newer and hopefully more improved model. We have plotted a new route, but my rate of travel is going to be slow. It will take 6 weeks to gradually wean off of one drug and on to the new drug. I would be kidding myself if I said the timing of this change did not bother me. My next marathon is 8 weeks from now. You do the math…I’m going to spend the next 6 weeks in the toughest part of my marathon training…while weaning off of one anti-seizure drug and onto a brand new drug that I have never used before. I have no idea if it will work, what side effects I will encounter or how it will play with my mind. Nervous? Yes. Quitting? Not even an option! When I set out to run the Chicago Marathon, I decided I was going to run it to celebrate life. More specifically, I’m running Chicago with Team in Training to celebrate my Mom’s life as a Leukemia Survivor. I’m still doing that and I’m just adding more incentive to conquer the windy city. I’m going to celebrate the gift of the ability to run the open road. When so much of my life right now is unknown, there is one thing that I know. I WILL COVER THE DISTANCE. This time, the challenge is going to be a little bigger, because I guess 26.2 miles isn’t a big enough challenge. But I’m here to say that I’m up for it, and I’m not backing down (unless a random metal sign falls on my head and knocks me down…true story). I’m running Chicago, and my Mom is going to be waiting for me at the finish line and we will Celebrate Life and Celebrate Survivors…together!

Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, August 2011

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5 thoughts on “The HOV Lane Leads to Chicago

  1. cheairs says:

    Gatewood,
    I am crying as I am writing this. I just read it to Dave and there are tears in his eyes too. The honesty in your words it touches deep into my soul. The gift that you have given to me through your writing and friendship- well it goes beyond words.The hope and faith that you have gives me strength. I love you my dear friend!!

    • Cheairs you have made it so much easier for so many reasons! I can’t thank you enough for teaching me to let others in. I love you too and I’m so happy that Dave begins a new journey tomorrow:)

  2. I had no idea you were going through this transition. I’m just so sorry. If I actually cooked and if I lived close enough to bring something to you I would! Love to you! I know you can do it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Gatewood,
    I just read all your blog entries. Thanks for sending the note a few days ago and including the web address. I was shocked to hear about all the trauma you have been through the past several years. Your writing is beautiful. I admire your strength, courage, and determination. Thank you for sharing your story. And, keep running! May God bless you. Love, Sharon

  4. Johnny Campbell says:

    I can not describe how proud I am of my beautiful wife. I know how far out of her comfort zone this blog has taken her. She is an amazing person with the purest heart I have ever known. I have been blessed beyond measure to be her best friend and husband for almost sixteen years. I have always known how incredible she is, I am just so happy she has finally allowed the rest of the world in to share in the joy of knowing Gatewood!

    I love you baby, keep writing, living ,running and healing. We are all rooting for you to sprint across that finish line.
    Johnny

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