Tuesday, October 2, 2012

10/2 and My Life With Cancer

10/2 is not just another day for me.  10/2 is not just the day that Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer fifteen years ago.  10/2 was the day I found out twenty years ago that my mother had cancer.  I became a care giver over the next ten years and I also began my involvement with Team in Training.

Until you have sat with a person while they receive their chemo, you really cannot appreciate the care that the doctors and nurses give to cancer patients.  Until you have driven a person home from a bone marrow aspiration, you really cannot appreciate the volunteers at the hospital that wait with your friend or family member as you go run to get the car.  Until you have had to make the decision to allow Hospice to transport your friend or family member from the house to the Hospice Center, you really cannot appreciate the compassion that the Hospice team has for your friend or family member and also for you.

I know what it is like to clean a long line.  I know what it is like to have to suit up in a special gown, gloves, and face mask to enter a clean room.  I know what it is like to walk laps around the floor with the bags of magic juice hanging off the IV pole.  I know what it is like to help someone with their wig.

There are also a lot of things that I know that I wish I could forget.

And for the last ten years of the past twelve, I used those things to drive me to fundraise money and race for those who could not.  I used those things to inspire other people to fundraise money and to get out of their comfort zone and do something that they thought was impossible.

And just when I was almost ready to throw in the towel and back off a bit, to cut myself some slack about the bad run workouts and the nagging shoulder pain, I found out that cancer is back in my life like a malignant tumor that was found in a screening.  I found out that my dad has been diagnosed with colon cancer.

We are taking it in stride.  It was caught early.  The chemotherapy and radiation will only last six weeks.  The oncology doctor is close.  The surgery will take place around the holidays.

My aches and pains are minuscule to this.  I have no room to whine or complain.  I just need to HTFU and go run.  And I did run.  I ran 5 miles on Sunday and it felt better.  My calves were tight, but they were not sore the day after.  I lost a pound, possibly two and I was able to wear a skirt I bought last March, and had yet to wear, out to the symphony over the weekend.  I was even able to eat a small meal and not bust any seams!  I even was able to resist the free frozen yogurt at the deli tonight where I enjoyed a huge bowl of chicken soup instead.

Cancer sucks.  It really does.  It sucks.

So, cancer is a part of my life.  It has shaped me into the person that I am today.  Frankly, I think that I am better off today than I was 12 years ago or 20 years ago before cancer.  It won't go away and neither will I.

Later Gators,