“My why is bigger than myself. My why is for all the people I’m racing for and raising funds for. My why is for all the angels on my angel list. And my why is for everyone that’s been told they can’t do something. Because who says you can’t?”
Last month, professional runner Keira D’Amato hosted a week’s worth of giveaways on Instagram. The fifth and final prize: an appearance on the Ali on the Run Show! The giveaway received 550 entries, and after reading every single one of them (twice!), Keira and I selected 24-time marathoner and 20-time Ironman triathlete Kristin McQueen as the winner.
Meet Kristin. She’s a 43-year-old from Illinois, and she is living with trigeminal neuralgia — a chronic illness she calls “Stabby Joe.” (“They say it’s the worst pain known to man,” says Kristin, who is in near-constant pain.) In 2003, Kristin was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and since then, she’s had more than 30 surgeries, including dozens of brain surgeries. She has had to re-learn how to walk and ride a bike, she has a paralyzed vocal cord, she lost hearing on her right side, and she can only see out of her left eye. Her medical history is long and complicated — but she’s never stopped fighting. In addition to her many athletic accomplishments, Kristin has also raised nearly $210,000 for the American Cancer Society. (You can donate here.)
All that, plus a 15-minute catch-up with Keira D’Amato (she’s officially in training mode!) to kick things off.
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As a physician, I found this episode very triggering. It is horrible that Kristin had to see four different doctors before she found someone who listened to her and diagnosed her with cancer. I always tell my patients that they need a physician that listens to them and that they must advocate for themselves. However, it was really frustrating to hear Kristin talk flippantly about how she doesn’t tell her doctors the whole truth about her upcoming races/workouts/etc. Please tell your doctor the truth! Please tell her exactly what you plan/hope to do. We can only take good care of you if you are honest with us. If your doctor won’t work with you on what you want to do, find another one.
No matter what you do, know that most of us in the medical field are working SO hard and trying SO hard to take the best possible care of you. I’m not sure this is always reflected in your podcasts. Doctors are people too!
Hi Karen! Thank you for this message. You are so right. Thank you for this comment. This will be top of mind for me going forward, for sure. I am so grateful for my own care team, and never intend to be flippant with messaging around how we should best communicate with the people helping take care of us. I appreciate you and the work you do.