I had just finished having my body flooded with poisons from my 3rd chemo treatment and was on the way home. My dad and I had gotten on the topic of my cancer, go figure.
“I know I’m thinking far ahead,” I confided, “but one of my biggest worries right now is the cloud that is going to hang over me when this is all over, always wondering if the cancer is coming back.”
Assuming, of course, that we effectively kill the cancer, my dad succinctly responded,
“There are the continuous check ups you’ll have as well. This will be the rest of your life.”
That hit me harder than I expected. I know this is true, that cancer isn’t just a clean cut and then off you go, but an ever-present concern, but I guess I hadn’t thought about it being “the rest of my life”. A physical threat or not, I’m not quite ready for cancer to ALWAYS be with me. I’m not ready to have to always be looking over my shoulder….but I also know that’s EXACTLY what I’ll always be doing.
Every failed workout. Every fatigued race. Every missed PR. Every day my stomach isn’t as flat as I hoped it to be, I’ll be doubting remission. I’ll always be wondering if the cancer is back. And honestly, that shakes me up more than having to go through this stupid, annoying process in the present.
But this is the reality and it’s better I face it and get prepared now rather than be blindsided down the road.
Then I came across this article in The Washington Post. The author confirms my fears, that always looking over your shoulder is just part of your life now. You can’t escape it.
And so that’s what I have to deal with relatively soon….what I have to prepare for, but with that said, I’ve got time. Concentrating on actually dealing with and killing the cancer takes precedent at this point, and the dark cloud of concern will come later. Right now I’ve got other issues and goals to conquer…
Speaking of, my son leaves tomorrow after a wonderful 4 week visit. There is always an empty feeling in my chest after he leaves and I’d be more concerned about that feeling if I didn’t have some intense distractions at hand to occupy my mental and emotional state. First and foremost, I renewed my membership with the Y to continue building the strength in my body for both general daily stresses amidst the weakening process of chemotherapy and for some pretty physically intense challenges I’ve created for myself, so no sooner than I drop him off with his mom, I’ll be heading to the gym to start my strengthening.
Then two days later I start a fundraiser I planned with Team In Training to raise money for Leukemia and Lymphoma. I’ll be riding a trainer 3 hours a day to get exposure for Team In Training and generate donations that will enable me to ride with the team at a Century (100 miles) in September. If you feel inclined to either donate to the cause or spread the word about the fundraiser, you can find my fundraising page here.
Following the fundraiser I’ve also planned a weekend backpacking trip on the AT with a friend, who is more uncomfortable than me that we begin the VERY DAY AFTER I find out if the chemo is working or not. Following THAT weekend is the Century ride with Team In Training…and then who knows what else.
So yeah, I’ve planned a few physical challenges to test my strength, keep me focused on getting stronger and staying motivated towards living as healthy and active as possible despite the constant chemo induced setbacks. Most importantly though, is the fundraiser that starts next week and allows me to give a little back in exchange for what so many have given me up to this point.