Last month I ran the Women’s Half Marathon here in Nashville. There was an “out and back” section of the course meaning participants passed each other going in opposite directions as we ran out and back. There were several thousand women participating, but one caught my attention. I saw a woman walking at a pretty darn good clip…wearing oxygen tubing and carrying a tank on her back. My hero.
While I only saw her for a few seconds I couldn’t get her our of my mind. According to her race bib, her name was Linda. I was so sorry I would not be able to meet her. I knew she had to have a wonderful, inspiring story and I was sad that I’d never learn of it.
The day after the event, I hopped on the Women’s Half Marathon Facebook page to post a kudos comment. And there she was! Linda! She’d posted a comment as well. I used FB’s private messaging feature to reach out to her. I asked her if she was indeed the lady with the O2. She quickly responded and confirmed her identity. We’ve since become Facebook Friends and I asked her if I could share her story on 482gr8. She agreed and provided me with some bullet points. So friends, I give you…Linda ! (in bullet point form).
• I contracted Legionnaires disease in 1984. It erased most of my memory.
• Fell and fractured both knees and after three surgeries on one leg and two on the other was told that I would probably never walk without a cane.
• Went back to school at age 50 to earn a bachelor degree that I had started 30 years earlier. He (God) ordered my steps.
• Therapist asked me to try magnets to see if it would help my legs—within one year I was off the cane as well as the pain pills that I was taking.
• The therapist found a chiropractor that had Magnetic beads but he did not know what to do with them. One of my majors in college was jewelry—I knew what to do with the beads because He (God) had already ordered my steps.
One day I was rushed to the hospital from work with back pain—three hours later I was having emergency surgery on my kidney followed by two more surgeries the next week. The doctor shared that he was sorry if he acted arrogant the night before—he just knew that if he did not do the surgery within the next ½ hour that I would not be alive the next day. However, he said that God sat him in his place the next morning letting him know that he could do the surgery but that God would be the one to heal me. He ordered my steps as well as the doctor’s.
In 2008 I walked/ran my first 5K
• Received a second place and looked for my next 5k.
• Completed two more 5ks before I had a heart attack while at work (in November)
• Had to get out of hospital and work on our Open House that we have every year to share our Christmas trees.
• Went for a second opinion for my heart and that doctor wanted to put hospitalize me that day for a heart cath. I put it off until I had a couple of open houses because God laid it on my heart that if I would share the gospel through the Christmas trees then he would take care of my heart
• December 13th went to Vanderbilt for the heart cath and had heart surgery.
December 2009 had Christmas Open House—the last one was on the 21st—the last person left and I laid down for a while. At 10 p.m. Dave (husband) had to take me to the hospital because it hurt to breath. I had double pneumonia and spent nine days in the hospital.
• I left the hospital with oxygen and was told that I would probably always need it but that they could not find a reason for needing it. My lung doctor says it is my heart and my heart doctor says it is my lungs.
• On January 23 I ran my first 5k with the oxygen and was disappointed that my time had slowed down by 10 minutes. But God ordered by steps.
August 2010 I ruptured three disks while completing a 7 mile training run—my O2 tank had slipped down on my back.
• Called a chiropractor because I knew a medical doctor would want to operate. Could not bend or even turn over in bed.
• Chiropractor saw me four times that week and I completed a 5k on Saturday, walking more than running. The chiropractor was there and adjusted me twice before he would let me leave.
• The following Friday I ran another 5k 10 minutes faster.
I had to give you the time line leading up to yesterday (half marathon day) so that you would be able to understand how GOD has truly ordered my steps!
I completed my first half marathon yesterday (September 25). 13.1 miles.
And there you have it. Linda has an indomitable spirit like no one I’ve ever met. I’m grateful she was placed in my path.