As many of you know, and many probably do not, my sister and I decided many months ago to try and do the Disney Princess Half Marathon at Disneyworld.
Because, if I'm going to do a half marathon, it's going to be in a tutu and a tiara. :-)
For the last few months, I've been working on walking further and further, polishing my tiara and getting ready to have a fantastic vacation in Disney with my sister Michelle and Carol, our "sister from another mother".
We fly to Orlando, we check in, we carb up, and we get going on race day!
Of course, I've been training in Indiana, where it's cold, and this race is in Florida - where it's HOT AND HUMID.
I dress in my regular gear (you know, running tights, compression socks, the whole nine) plus my tutu and tiara, and we are ready to walk at 5am!
At 6:24am our corral took off, and Michelle and I were on our way! My honest goal - because of the Disney pacing requirements - was to make it halfway, which is the castle at Magic Kingdom.
It was hot, humid and hard, but halfway came and went!
(Did I cry as I walked through the castle? You betcha.)
We kept going, and I kept getting...hotter. And thirstier. And hotter. And then....freezing cold.
The last thing I remember is thinking "I can't, I can't..."
And as I turned out, I couldn't.
Yup, I was the girl who passed out at Mile 12.2 - practically within sight of the finish line!
But then, things got weird.
I didn't just pass out - I had severe heat stroke. SEVERE HEAT STROKE. As in a 106.2 temperature - a temp the nurses at the hospital said they had never seen before.
I was whisked away by ambulance (sadly, not by a glass coach) to the hospital where, well, I died.
I mean, only for a minute, but...I died.
The amazing doctors and nurses brought me back and into ICU I went, full of breathing tubes, catheters, feeding tubes and enough drugs to keep me completely out of it for three or four days.
Thank god, because I didn't want to live through that.
What I have had to live with, though, is that for the last 13 days, I have been in the hospital in Florida, because out of all this heat stroke adventure, my kidneys took a major hit - a condition called acute rhabdomyolysis.
Basically, I broke my kidneys.
It took 13 days of fluids, rest, dialysis (three times!), tests, bloodwork and more to get me the point where I could at least be released to come home to Indiana. I'm still weak as a kitten, but couldn't be more grateful to be home and more importantly, you know, alive.
The doctors and nurses were amazing, as were the emergency crew, but the real hero here is my sister Michelle.
Despite it being TWO WEEKS in the hospital, Michelle never left my side. She caught my shoes when they flung them off me trying to save my life, she sat in the freezing hospital room along with Carol while I was unconscious, she advocated and ADVOCATED on my behalf for what I needed, helped me get outside for fresh air when I was feeling like I was losing my shit, and most of all, she kept me from feeling terrified and alone. I knew if Michelle was on the case, I was going to be okay. She ate crappy hospital food, stayed in a lousy hotel, and wore the same sweater every day, just to make sure I would live, and then thrive.
She's the one who saved my life, really.
Anyway, that's the story - I'm hoping to get back to my own home tomorrow, and then slowly get back to work and life, even while I continue to heal and get my strength back.
Bear with me, it might take a while, but hey, at least I'm here.