Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Think You're Tough?

I thank my lucky stars that so far in life I have been blessed with a pretty good health package. I am not talking about a medical package, I am talking about my general health. Something I and probably you (read:healthy able bodied people) take for granted. I sincerely doubt that I acknowledge this fact enough, but when you read about someone close to your age that has been dealt a bad hand in life, my EIA (Exercise Induced Asthma) seems very, no, extremely, insignificant and a mere 'bump in the road' that I have had to overcome. I have no idea what I would do or how I would handle a life threatening illness, accident or tragedy. I would hope it would make me stronger and teach me once again to never give up...on anything.
At 29years of age Kristen McQueen, was dealt a really bad hand. Like many others before her and to follow she never gave up and refused to admit defeat to her life threatening illness. Instead, against all the odds she went on to excel and to LIVE.
So you think you are pretty tough because you signed up to do an IM? With limbs intact and in good working order and clean bills of health the significance of what we are preparing for pails somewhat when faced with the reality of someone who truly has earned the title of fighter/survivor/champion/Ironman (IRONCHICK).

Heart of a Champion: Kristin McQueen
Courtesy of, by profiler Matthew Dale
Kristin McQueen steadied herself on the indoor spin bike. Round and round she pedalled her legs, not so much to break a sweat, but to build her confidence. McQueen had undergone brain surgery six weeks earlier to repair nerve damage and the surgery impacted her balance.When the instructor called for the cyclists to get out of the saddle for jumps, McQueen left the comfort of her seat … and nearly toppled over. McQueen spent the rest of the session in the seated position. Later, McQueen, 29, graduated to her first ride near her home outside of Chicago. Scratch that. Call it her first attempted ride. “Within 20 feet, I made friends with the curb,” jokes McQueen. Last June, McQueen joined friends for group rides, which proved to be eventful. Like the time McQueen and Heath Meyer got lost in Madison, Wis., slowed down to ask directions and McQueen pulled a face-plant.“Oh honey,” joked Meyer, “you are pathetic.” Says McQueen, a physical therapist, “It wasn’t a long ride if I didn’t fall off my bike.”
Did we mention that McQueen was diagnosed with thyroid cancer 5½ years ago? That she has undergone three surgeries to remove cancerous tumours, has undergone chemotherapy twice and that her three brain surgeries were caused by reaction to radiation?
Last September, barely three months after her third brain surgery, McQueen completed her first Ironman, finishing Ford Ironman Wisconsin in 14 hours, 12 minutes.
For the full story click on the link:

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