Our beautiful baby boy, Leo Jordan Walker, was born on March 16, 2015. The moment I laid eyes on Leo my body immediately filled with a love and happiness that took over my mind, heart and soul. He is our miracle. If I ever have a moment of feeling down and out, it takes one second to come to reality and realize that I am beyond blessed.
I have heard Adam say, "Having a baby is the biggest job that we will ever have in our lives and it doesn't even come with an instruction manual." He is right! In the end we have created our own 'instruction manual' and we did it together. It was built upon love, trust, experience and a dash of compromise.
This blog has focused on my journey of being a person living with Cystic Fibrosis who runs. I will always advocate for exercise and setting goals because I need those to inspire and drive me, but I now have an additional piece of motivation........being a mommy.
Having a child is tough. There are no breaks or time outs in mommyhood. It has taken a lot of time and even tears to adjust to my not-so-easy routine with a baby. In between treatments, there were feedings, changing diapers, changing clothes and a lot of rocking and bouncing. We were learning about Leo as he was also learning about us and this whole new world.
In Leo's nursery there is a picture of my great-grandmother carrying my grandfather on her back in the early 1920's. I hung this picture in Leo's room because it represents our family, culture and identity as Tlingit people. It is also symbolic of strength and sacrifice. When you become a parent you learn the sacrifices that our parents, grandparents and generations before have given for us to be alive. Each generation faces new obstacles and new remarkable innovations. I am thankful for my family and all they have sacrificed for me to be here.
I would like to think that I gained strength and resilience from my past generations. I have the power to make decisions that can alter my life. I value the decision that I can make to exercise and I also believe that exercise is the stemming nature of health and wellness for me. At 1 month postpartum I restarted my running journey and learned how to incorporate motherhood into that journey.
I had worked out through out my whole pregnancy and attended my last boot camp two days before Leo was born. I thought I was in decent shape and it would be easy to jump into running again. Nope! Jogging was hard and I felt like I was learning to run all over again. I felt sluggish and defeated.
I made the decision to not focus on the negative and decided to tell myself there are no excuses. In reality, exercise is a part of what keeps me healthy. It is a part of my airway clearance and helps me rid the mucous out of my lungs.
Despite the difficulty in regaining strength and endurance to run it has turned into a special time that Leo and I can enjoy together. It has also turned into a nap time :)
My main motivation for running has been to outrun Cystic Fibrosis and to prevent further lung deterioration. Sometimes I need more help than just exercise and compliance with my medical routine. This past August I was hospitalized with Pneumonia, Leo was 5 months old, and I had a PICC line placed so I could do 3 weeks of IV antibiotics 24/7. I was in the hospital for three days but fortunately was able to go home with IV antibiotics and manage them myself.
Although I had moments of feeling overwhelmed I didn't want to dwell on how complicated that 3 weeks was going to be. I reminded myself to be brave and focus on things that I could accomplish while on IV antibiotics. I continued to jog and hike, I even ran a 10k!
I am determined to run and exercise for my health. It is not just about me anymore, I have a child who needs me. I want Leo to grow up with his mom.
I want to be able to teach Leo to be kind, humble, follow his dreams, strive for greatness, learn from failure, travel, read, be respectful, gain knowledge through experience and to also pick himself up when life is tough.
Baby Leo is my inspiration to lace up my shoes and get out there and run. There are no excuses today, tomorrow or the next day just reasons why I need to put one foot in front of the other and run.
I ran my first postpartum half marathon in October and on December 5th I ran 10 miles to celebrate 10 years of being cancer free! Adam and I also celebrate 10 years of being together!
The winter has not stopped Leo and I from our jogs outside. We bundle up and head out the door -- he is my running partner!
A special thank you to my husband who encourages and supports me in our journey as parents. I am ever so grateful to our family who also devotes endless amounts of time and help. I would not be able to focus on my health, mind and body without my behind-the-scenes support system.