Finishing the race together is all that matters!

A Urostomy Bag Through the Homestretch!

Last weekend, I had the honor of running the Muskegon Seaway 5K (3.2 miles) race with a great friend. Really, in retrospect, there were many in the 1500 runners that I knew, but Greg is a friend!

Greg is a natural runner. Even at 59 years old, he can walk up to a starting line and whip out 3 miles without having practiced. His claim to fame, however, was 43 years ago, setting the Muskegon Catholic Central mile record in the “City Tournament” at 4 minutes 24 seconds! He was flying as a sophomore and beat some phenomenal local runners! Finishing a sanctioned mile run in the low 4’s placed him in an elite category.

Greg was becoming a known talent and ran that high school race against a senior from a competing school that was “gunning” for him. He somehow rose above his legs and lungs and let his heart take over.

In our race last Saturday, we both knew I had trained more, but that he had the history. I relayed to him that I had met up recently with his track coach from high school and that he had confided in me that Greg’s run in 1974 was the most beautiful mile run he’d ever witnessed in years of coaching! You could feel Greg’s adrenaline rise as the crowd moved up to the “ready” position. Just before the starting gun sounded, we stretched and I got more nervous, in the pack of runners, he asked me how my hunting season went last fall… my brain left my nervous body and I started telling him about our deer hunting efforts at the north cabin.

Pace yourself!

We paced each other offering short phrases of encouragement back and forth.  We passed runners and runners passed by us.

The home stretch was a straightaway 250 yards to a finish line archway that we both ached to reach when Greg “blew a tire”. His right calf tightened and cramped and he said “you go on I’m done” as he slowed to a crawl…

Greg had helped me through the past seven years while dealing with my health issues.

I had my bladder and prostate removed for cancer, and now I run with a urostomy.

It’s funny how running, after you get through the early pain, becomes an addiction. Think of the rise in endorphins soothing the brain, making sleep become restful, and adding a lift to your walk. Then, imagine a periodic compliment on the strength of my running from such an elite runner as Greg!

Not only has he helped my running, but he has improved my quality of life by assisting with the development of StomaCloak!

Encouragement from a Friend

When Greg “blew a tire” in the home stretch of last Saturday’s 5K, I grabbed his hand and we dragged each other the final 150 yards in a sprint! He helped my nervous brain with his history, I helped his tired leg with encouragement!

We are looking for a faster time next year. Yet will be happy, again, to let our hearts take over, and to finish the race together!
By Dr. Joseph Salisz, MD A urologist with an ostomy

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