Automatically drafted teammates: My sister, or sblot as many people call her, is always there to listen and reassure me that everything is going to be alright. My Dad, rblot, has a peaceful attitude that is perfect for mediating times of stress. My Mom, ablot, schedules most of my appointments and makes sure that my prescriptions are filled, both of which are necessities that I sometimes take for granted.
Those who stepped up to the plate:
My high school advisor always keeps things in perspective for me. If I have a test, whether medical or school related, she always calms me down. I rarely allow myself to admit to a headache or seizure as the excuse for a missing assignment, but sometimes she convinces me to cut myself some slack. The school nurse, and everyone’s second mother, provides me with never ending positivity and encouragement. These two faculty members don’t have to play the roles that they do, but they choose to; they show me the light of the world every day, and I am humbled by their wisdom.
Three of my friends, Ajay, Caroline, and Puja, are probably the best support system I could ever ask for. Ajay and Puja are always smiling and laughing, and their silliness spreads like wildfire, putting everyone in a good mood. Puja is one of the sweetest and most compassionate people that I know, and I love that she’s always in the mood to brighten up someone’s day with a hug. I typically refer to Ajay as my ray of sunshine on a cloudy day or my better half; we spend a lot of time together, and whenever I’m stressed he boosts my mood with his jolly personality. Caroline has the ability to turn any situation into something hysterical, and I usually end up laughing so hard that she brings me to tears.
My high school tennis team – tennis was always a place where I could go to get away from my medical stress and fears. After having two severe back injuries in 2010 and surgery in 2011, watching my teammates play and seeing their passion out on the courts reminded me that I’d probably make it back out onto the court despite what some doctors said. I made a point of continuing to attend matches, take pictures, and cheer on teammates as we were regional and state champions in 2010, and regional and state runner-ups in 2011. Within the past few weeks I’ve made a strong push towards getting back on the court, and things are looking like I’ll actually be able to compete for a full season this year! On the court I’m not a patient, I’m just another player. On the court I control the outcome of events, not doctors or MRI machines! When they’re rooting for me in a relay race or a match what they’re really rooting for isn’t a win on the court, but a victory against the walls that mAss kickers have to knock down.
Teammates who developed by chance:
Erich Zeeb, who I previously blogged about, keeps me motivated. Erich and I met up for lunch in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago, and he told me that he has continued to stay in shape amidst his chemo treatments by swimming laps with buckets on both ends of the pool in case he needs to heave. Not that’s dedication. For the past year I recovered from back surgery, and had become a bit of a lazy slug. Erich’s determination to stay fit was a wakeup call for me..if Erich could find the inner drive to stay fit in the midst of chemo, then I could find the energy and make the time to get myself back in shape.
I can’t even put words to how many opportunities and resources Eric Galvez, the mastermind behind MKF, has provided me. My involvement with the mAss Kickers Foundation gave me a purpose in the beginning of my mAss kicking journey and made me realize that I wanted a career helping others. The rest of the MKF bloggers and advocates out there like Amanda, Kristen, Ligaya, Jennifer, Matt, etc. remind me that the future is not too unknown, and that there will be a mAss kicking support system out there for me at any age.
Ultimately, I think that friends are the best support system. After a long day in the hospital or a weekend full of tests, I just want to feel “normal.” Whether “normal” is going to tennis practice or sitting around a bonfire with a group of friends relaxing and laughing, I know that I’m not alone.