Wednesday, March 25, 2009

a semi-rude awakening

There are multiple reasons why I am participating in the 45 mile Livestrong Challenge ride in Philly.

One, I was sitting at my Dad's a week and few days after his first chemotherapy treatment. I went with him to the treatment, that was a whole new experience! But this particular day I wanted to sit with him and just be there. He sat and looked out the door. It happened to be snowing so it did not seem so unusual, because it was pretty. Still my Dad has been a "go getter", a nice guy who had never met a stranger and was never short on words. There he was short on words and go get. I ate six Lifesavers. No, that does not seem odd, except I hate Lifesavers, also hate the Lays potato chips I kept munching on inbetween the Lifesavers. Then I wanted a soda (I didn't go there). Tammy kept looking at me and I shrugged without an explanation to give. I did what most fat people do when we are upset. I ate! Oh and don't get me started on all the cupcakes I keep baking. I realized then I had to change, but realizing and action are two different ball games. We can talk all day about knowing what we need to do, it is putting it into action that is the tough part.

Two, I was also taugtht that when time gets tough, the tough get going. I had a great high school basketball coach that put that into a simple action for me once, when she asked me to run until I felt better. A very valuable lesson!!! That I have used many times in my life. Thanks Coach Wright!

Three, My Dad was suffering. We all have our own suffering when we hear the diagnosis of cancer from the family and friends side. (more on that later) He was aching inside from the anxiety of it all, from the fear and from the unknown. We were all in a place of unknown. Not knowing how much longer we would smell his cologne, see his smile on a physical body, how sick will he be and well I could go on... I know that pushing yourself beyond what you are doing now is no comparison, but I wanted to push myself into the unknown, to see what I am made of.

There have been lots of days the alarm has gone off, the sky is stil dark, the birds are barely awake and chirping and I have not wanted to go to the gym. Then I remember there were times my Dad has not wanted to go for radiation or to the countless doctor appointments. So I get up, remember that I am pushing myself beyond what I have done, knowing that he is doing something beyond what he ever thought he could handle.
I have all sorts of anxieties about this ride. Will I break or injure something between now and August? Will I beable to finish 45 miles? Will I reach my fundraising goal? And well there are more, but I'll save you those. Then this morning while riding the bike at the gym after lifting weights, I realized. I HAVE NO CLUE!!! I have no clue the anxiety my Dad felt the first day he knew he had cancer! I have no clue the anxiety my Dad felt as he sat for five hours with poison (that will make him the sickest he has ever been in his life) dripped into his veins. I have no clue at all about what it is like to receive the diagnosis of cancer (like many of us I do not wish to either). I have no clue how any of the 1 million people will feel this year when they hear that words as their diagnosis. Nor do I have any clue how the 8 million people already living with active cancer in their bodies feels.

SO. I will continue to push myself to the limits and will continue to ride, even though I have no clue how scary it is to live with active cancer growing inside my body. Why? Because I can! I can push myself beyond my scary places. I can do what I can to help educate, help with research dollars, help support and so much more. 1 millions people is just to many to me! 1 is to many to me!

Here is my first advice. Get outside or find some way to begin to excercise. Even if you can only walk to the end of the sidewalk and back. Pretty soon, you'll be around the block. Why? Because studies show excercise helps to reduce the threat of cancer. (More on that later)

Thanks for sharing in this journey!

Peace and joy,

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