Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Running Buddy

I love to run.

I cannot explain why I love to run. I just love to run. During college, I did not have much time to run regularly. Addison's Disease and running don't always play nicely with each other. And then you add in all of the engineering tests and projects? A girl can only handle so much! However, there were periods of time where I could establish a regular running routine.

Long runs by yourself are painfully boring. I found another crazy person who didn't mind running with me. We began running together on Saturday mornings. We ran for different reasons. He wanted to get into shape to prepare for OCS with the marines (which he was dishonorably discharged from). I wanted to prove to my disease that it did not control me.

During our junior year of college, we hit seven miles. This was a huge victory for me. I had only logged that many miles once, in high school. I believed that Addison's Disease would not allow me to log those longer runs. Completing that run goes down as one of my proudest moments during my college experience.

Senior year, he moved next door to me at an apartment off campus. He did not do that on purpose, it just happened to work out that way. We continued to run together. I graduated May 2012. In August, I began working as an engineer and he moved to Guatemala to work as a long term missionary (which he was expelled from because the missionary organization decided they were better off without him). We occasionally kept in touch, especially after he was forced to move back to the States.

Let's fast forward to April 20th, 2013. I was sitting at my table, trying to record the Nightmare. I had only been out of the hospital for a few hours. I was broken, weak, and terrified.

My phone rang.

He had just finished one of his best runs ever and he was so excited that he had to call me to hear the excitement in my voice. But it wasn't there. He knew immediately with the way I answered "hello" that something was wrong. I started crying into the phone as I retold about my horrible experience. He was speechless. His friend almost died. The wheels began spinning in his head.

It is now May 1st, 2013. I am sitting alone in a conference room at work trying to overcome an anxiety attack. I had just gotten off of the phone with Endo 4. "You don't have Addison's Disease. You never had Addison's Disease. You are just a depressed girl addicted to steroids." That phone conversation still infuriates me. Horrible phone call. Endo 4 was wrong, fyi. I soon fired him.

I was shaking, alone, in that conference room. I sent him just a quick text, "I need a hug."

I did not realize that he was only an hour away from me. I did not know that he would drop everything and show up at my apartment door with a Disney movie, a bag of dark chocolate, and vanilla ice cream, even though my family explicitly stated that my favorite flavor is mint chocolate chip.

"Amber, if you want to talk about your health stuff, I am more than willing to listen. Or, we can watch this movie, pig out on ice cream, and forget about everything for a few hours." I picked the wrong flavored ice cream.

On May 5th, I ended up with an extra race bib. He claimed it, even though he was starting his job in Iowa the very next day. The aftermath of the race did finally cause the medical community to wake up and acknowledge how sick I truly was.

I also was conned into believing how much he cared for me.

In the first letter from my mom, I comment on how people do not survive in isolation and how a chronic disease affects so much more than just the person diagnosed. My mom and I have tag teamed my health ever since I was first diagnosed. However, I am so excited to announce that we are going to add a new member to this team.

Dear readers, I am going to marry my running buddy on March 1st, 2014.

I am confident that his voice will occasionally appear on this blog. I am not quite sure what he will say, but I do look forward to beginning this new chapter of a life that will always be Clearly Alive.


  1. Poppy & Nanny ShermamNovember 17, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    We are so very proud of You and how you are not allowing this disease to control you. We are so happy you have a Running Buddy for LIFE !!! <3 Poppy & Nanny

  2. How exciting!! He sounds like a wonderful person! So happy for you...and you guys make an adorable couple too ;)

  3. Howdy, Amber. One of your friends posted a link to your blog on and I've been locked into it for some time now. A lot of what you wrote and went through hit close to home for me - I have AD myself and am a runner as well. I was diagnosed in the 7th grade after being sick for close to a year. I can't even begin to imagine what it would've been like to go undiagnosed for 14! You must be tough as nails.

    While I wouldn't wish this disease on my worst enemy, it's nice to be able to connect with others that are living with it, even if only virtually. I have subscribed and will continue reading. Keep on keepin' on and congratulations on your engagement.

    1. Welcome from reddit! Thank you for stopping by and introducing yourself. Please feel free to comment on anything. It is so nice to be able to chat with others who can relate to our journeys, even if it's through online avenues.

      And yay for being a runner! :) :)