Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Runner of the Week - Bobbi Parker
When I was asked by Geaux Run to share my story, I felt quite honored and a little undeserving at the same time. There are many extraordinary people who have battled, conquered and are currently going through much more than I in their lives. I am an ordinary person, who enjoys family, friends and participating in most activities. Running, however, has become one of my all time favorites.
I am also a two time breast cancer survivor. In March 2007, at the age of 38, I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. I’ve always considered myself to be a healthy person and with no family history of any type of cancer, the diagnosis was quite shocking. I opted for the most aggressive treatment possible. You see, I had a wonderful family and most precious six year old to live for. And, I am a fighter.
I underwent a lumpectomy and 8 treatments of chemotherapy every two weeks, followed by six weeks of daily radiation. Four of the “red-devil”, which lives up to its name and four Taxol, which in my case caused leg bone pain for a few years. The hair loss didn’t bother me much, I went bald everywhere. Let ‘em stare! I could conquer the world or at least the roads on my runs!!
Did I mention runs? Yes, I ran throughout every treatment, just about every day. It wasn’t always a pretty sight. There were many times I almost took up my neighbors offers for a ride home. I ran through sickness, tears and pain. I ran not because I had to, but because I could. The funny thing is, I still run, as many of us do, through sickness, sometimes tears and pain, but all the while smiling.
Being faced with death forced me to realize my end on earth may come sooner than I expect. Those that know me, know it’s not in my nature to sit around feeling sorry for myself. I immediately set out to run my first ½ marathon and ended up running a few ½’s, as well as the full Houston Marathon in January 2010. To have my family cheering me at the finish line was one of the proudest moments of my life.
As it turned out, my battle with cancer wasn’t quite over. In 2010, I was diagnosed with a new case of breast cancer. I was given the news the day before the Komen race, which I ran and won as a survivor, my third year in a row. This time the only option was a mastectomy. I chose a double mastectomy with reconstruction. I had 5 surgeries within a year. Did I continue to run between each surgery? Absolutely!
We are now into August 2011 and I have run several races since. I won my 4th Komen as a survivor this year and the best part was running next to Mia, my now 10 year old. It looks as though she has also picked up the love for running and will no doubt pass me up our next race together! I have met many amazing people through running. They are some of the most dedicated, motivating, positive people I know. With their encouragement, as well as my families, I will be running several ½ marathons and another full this year. I also have my sights on a trail race or two, thanks to my running friend’s adventurous spirits!
I am a survivor, no different from anyone else. I believe in helping others in whatever way I can. If my story helps another in any way, then that was the purpose of it all. I’ll be seeing you on the roads my friends, with a smile on my face. Because we can! Enjoy the run!!