Posted by Roger, a contributor to this blog.
Not quite a year ago I had a restless night. There were some things going through my mind that still resonate with me and provide me with that extra inspiration when I need it. I shared it with some folks then and I thought I’d share it with all of you now.
That night I tried to go to bed early. About 10:00. I knew boot camp came early and the more rested I was, the better I could perform. Unfortunately, I had a couple of things kind of collide that had me thinking too much in the night and did not make for a restful sleep.
The first was the news that my great nephew has ALD (Adrenoleukodystrophy) . This has been a disease that has been in my family for years. Unfortunately, it has resulted in the death of 2 of my brothers and my nephew. My first brother passed from this disease in the mid ’70’s. My second in 1997. Both were misdiagnosed as having died from MS. Only when my nephew passed in 2001 was the diagnosis of ALD given. It also became the diagnosis for my 2 brothers. This is a disease that is only passed from mother to sons. I had to have a type of blood test given that showed I did not have, and would not develop, the disease. Every time one of my nieces has a son, the baby has to be tested. So far 4 of my great nephews have been diagnosed. The oldest of the 4 was progressing to fully developing the disease when he received a bone marrow transplant. While the transplant was unable to undo any damage the disease caused, it won’t progress any further. The other two are a 10 week old baby, a 3 year old, and an older one. All will need a lot of medical attention, keep on special diets, but at least there is more hope for them, especially with Jordi, the bone marrow transplant recipient, around to always show a positive outcome is possible.
The second was reading the book Not Without Hope. This was the true story of Nick Schuyler and 3 other guys in Florida who went fishing one day in February. While out to sea they managed to capsize their boat, with eventually only 1 person surviving. It was such a tragic story. All the guys were in terrific shape, 2 being NFL players and Mr. Schuyler was a personal trainer. Reading not only their story but what he has to go through emotionally now really moved me. Especially the part about “survivor’s guilt”. I think I often wondered why didn’t I get that horrible disease? Why was I spared? There must be a purpose. Fortunately I’m pretty sure I have discovered my reason.
Both of these things kept me thinking into the night. They made me sad for my nephews and really sad for my brothers. I guess you never really stop grieving. Both of my brothers were older. One was only about a year older. He was 16 when he died and I was 14. My other brother died when I was 35. He was about 44. Although both were hard, the one in 1997 was particularly difficult. He was such a bright, witty guy and a great deal of fun. Both brothers had a love for wrestling and Larry (the older of the 2) was always teaching Joe wrestling moves. If he had made it to high school he would have been a great wrestler. Larry also left behind 5 children. Sometimes I still think to myself that I need to call Larry to talk to him about the Wolverines, or a book I read, or something that struck me funny. I think about my brothers everyday.
But theses two events also kept me up because they served as inspiration. I thought about those guys on the boat, how they gave everything their body had to give to try and survive. I also thought about how my brothers and nephew wanted to give their all but after awhile they couldn’t. I told myself I’m going to continue to push to give what I can.
So now, when I get tired and I don’t think I can do anymore, I think about my brothers and those guys from the book. And, even if I rest for a second, I try to push myself just a little further.
By the way, as a way of keeping myself accountable for my workouts I keep a running blog of my outdoor bootcamp experiences. They take up much space though and I don’t want to use up space here for those accounts. But if you are interested you can check them out here.
Have a good one!