Sunday, June 24, 2012

Celebrate {fight back} Remember

Cancer is an ugly, unpredictable, unfair, and unjust thing. 
It spares no one regardless of age, gender, or social status. 
Those who have faced cancer, past & present are warriors, fighters, champions.  
They're about hope, perseverance, and inspiration.
Relay for Life is a party celebrating all of those things. 
I have been a Team Captain in the past for this event, but time has gotten away from me lately and this year I was merely an unaffiliated participant. 
In between mandatory work shifts and call backs, and unable to escape sleeplessness, with my inner Scarlett O'Hara (more on her later) at the helm, I decided to make the most of my sleep deprivation, threw on my workout gear and headed out to the track.
As I walked around the track:
I caught up with family members a few short phone calls at a time.
I waved at co-workers and neighbors that I saw out in the crowd.
I noticed the other participants young & old, the messages on their shirts, the signs and pledges that adorned the track, saw all the names written on luminary bags in crayon and marker - uncle, brother, mother, grandfather, son, cousin, friend...

I thought about my Aunt Esther, 74 years young, her tears before her mastectomy earlier this year, and then picking her  up the very next day when she was released from the hospital.
She said, "I'm ready to party, but the doctor said I can't move around for at least 6 weeks.  I'm so disappointed, I was just going to start zumbaing."  Champion.

I thought about my friend Bev who passed away two years ago, who in an email announcing her cancer had come back, titled "My Big Adventure", always thinking of others first  addressed her friends and family with this message:
"How are you all doing?  Hope that 2010’s challenges and obstacles are few and easily manageable.  Be sure to celebrate each day.whatever it brings!"  Warrior.

I thought about the instantaneous sinking feeling that hit me last month when I heard that one of my oldest friends was diagnosed with Stage-3 cancer at the age of 31, just a month older than me.
I thought about asking over for a glass of wine for my birthday and then wondering if she was allowed in to drink with her diagnosis.  Her response with the great sense of humor that she has always had, "I'm 31 with stage-3 throat cancer, of course I can, the rules are out the window now."  Fighter.

Finally plugged in my headphones, tuned out the world, and started listening to my head and my heart. 

I set a goal for myself a few months back: enter an organized walk/run once a month for 12 months. 
I had just over an hour to get in that distance before I had to be back at work.
So with my girls, Kelly Clarkson, P!nk, Rihanna, and Adele keeping the beat for me, I started to run. 
Each loop around the track was 1/4 of a monthly goal is a 5k  (3.1 miles) - 13 laps around the track, grabbing a paperclip each time I made a loop to track my distance.
I can't lie, I'm good for about 1/6 of a mile running a time and then I'm done...but it's a start.
Bucket list item #10- run a full marathon. 26.2 miles. 
 I might be in my retirement by the time I get that done, but I WILL do it.
With all the warriors, fighters, and champions I have been privileged to meet and know, I just can't sit back and let life pass me by. 
I will make the most out of the hours and days that have been given to me.

{March/Brazen Lagoon Valley 5K, April/Survivor Mud Run 5k
 May Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 3K Cancer Walk, June Relay for Life 5K}

1 comment:

  1. Such an great post. I love that you were able to share the messages from your aunt and friend on how to be rel fighter and champion but hate that we have to find those inspirational words in this way. Btw, one day you'll have to show me how to make those cool picture collages. :-)