Monday, February 3, 2014

At least I know that much

The blogger has recently been blogged about ( and . On the second article, it has one of my worst and favorite lines… as anyone whose read this for a while knows that I clearly reject the idea label of  hero or inspiration correcting it always to that I’m perspirational but it does talk about my two favorite races and they are both races where I was getting to cheer other people, my mother and my daughter ( and Watching and cheering turns out is almost as fun as running a race and sometimes a little bit better. But coincidentally in those races, both Kiana and my mother were each the very last finisher of the race.  (There are people my speed and slower and faster who complain about the fact that marathons and half marathoners were being given too much time on courses, that they should have to work harder. Well, first of all it turns out the data doesn’t back them up on the health end since it turns out that covering the same amount of distance is about the same health benefits no matter what speed you do it at.) Now there are those of us who have screwed up brains and think if we cover an arbitrary distance faster than other people we should have higher self-esteem. But why those are my favorite races is because it reminded me that I learned from a great woman and teaching to a magnificent little girl that if you sign up for something, you do what it takes if at all possible to complete it. And in a bit I’m headed to pick up Kiana from school and like we have been doing after many days at school, we go do 1-2 miles of a track workout of hers. And I’ve made it clear over and over and over about this 5k that she doesn’t have to do anything other than finish and if she doesn’t like it we don’t’ have to do it ever again (by the way, if you haven’t donated yet, this is the last week,

Kiana clearly understands commitment because she follows through as she did during the race that’s my favorite, during the Spartan she cried and followed through to the end. She also understands that people giving up easily damages others besides yourself as she turned in an assignment for MLK day in which she said her dream (which she drew) was her parents getting married again and that the world would be a better place if divorce didn’t happen. You try to protect your children from so many things but it’s sometimes the poor emotional handling of a relationship with her mother that creates memories and I hate that part of my life. And it’s questionable whether I’m compensating with other things or paying penance with it. But I also know that those are rare days and most of her drawings are rainbows or her post marathon drawing was her being carried up the stairs… so that helps…

But the simple truth is that I’m starting as my doctor’s appointments get further apart to at least dare to dream that maybe I get to be part of the minority that beats this thing. There never has been or never will be a day that I’m one hundred percent sure that I’ll beat it… I am both suspicious and jealous of people who take that approach when presented with unfavorable odds. But the increased anti seizure medication isn’t going too bad (though a doctor who met me at Waco said when he realized that I was on near maximum dosage of Keprra, you do realize that hurts athletic performance right? And I said theoretically speaking but I don’t think I’d be anywhere near this level of athletic performance without the stress of cancer) and even if I don’t beat cancer, well my car sits in the garage and while it will be almost two years without driving, I have been running it once a week in case when I see the doctor in April, he lets me get back to driving. That may not happen but I try to echo the sentiment of a song in Spanish is that “Y es tanta mi fe que aunque no tengo jardin ya me compre una podadora,” which reveals that  “and such is my faith that even though I don’t have a garden, I bought a pruner.”

The Superbowl was a horribly uncompetigive game and there weren’t really many great commercials and there might have been brought a few liquors and beers brought. For the first time in a while, I have an entire month without a long distance race in it so like the rare times that I drink since my doctors don’t let me have alcohol or caffeine I may have gotten some rum and coke. And then because two of the girls there have bets that if I  ever get married again they have to run a marathon… I started making jokes about how I’d be married by the end of 2014 (it was all a joke folks). I’m not sure I’ll ever dive into a full belief of that I’ll beat cancer and I’m a total coward about marriage but I have decided that if the next set of medical appointments go well… I will stop using the term George Clooney girls and start being a little more honest and open to dating someone or calling them regular people words like a girlfriend if it gets to that stage, trying to not hide behind clever things about how I haven’t had a girlfriend since high school.

(Mom don’t be getting all hopeful that I’ll be getting into something soon) but I also recently heard and downloaded a song ( called middle distance runner.

Well my heart is beating hard
And I'm off with a shot at the start
And my legs tremble from strain
But by the finish line I'll drain

So won't you run to me tonight?
Tonight let's not talk about next summer
Cause I'll only ever be a middle distance runner

But when I was training for my first marathon, I did the Austin distance challenge which is a series of races that began with a 10k building up to a 20 miler race not just training run on the way to the marathon. The simple truth is that to this day while I have placed in 5 of the 9 marathons I’ve ran and won one, before that started I placed more in the middle distances than I did in the sprints of the fulls… So I am going to relax about my beliefs that I’ll never get to drive again, or not be so convinced that I’ll be part of the majority that beats cancer, or that I’m never going to take any relationship to seriously. I’m not going to go to the opposite extreme and say that I’m looking for my forever love or that nothing will ever go wrong again but simply try to take it not forever and not just the immediate moment but somewhere in the middle distance. The commitments I’ve made I’ll follow through with conviction but I’m going to be more relaxed to the ones that I have no control of and see what we can do with the mess for a while.

And those are the songs I’m listening to right now… like Caedmon's call's love is different than you think

Because I don't know what I want
But at least I know that much
Now I'm afraid love came right up
And it slapped me in the face, but I did not know, no

'Cause love is different than you'd think
It's never in a song or on a TV screen
And love is harder than a word
Said at the right time and everything's alright

Because you can't just turn it off
And put a blindfold on your heart
But I'm off to a good start

But maybe you're the dream I'm waking from
Well, I see you everywhere I go
Darlin', you are such a mystery to me

Cause love is different than you'd think

So right now, I don’t know what I want but at least I know that much. If this blog seems semi lost it’s because it’s been an odd week for many reasons one is that there’s not a clear immediate race. But coincidentally it has been a cancer week of people with my particular cancer. Because I hung out with a friend who brain cancer friend who shared they had a low platelet count and how chemo had to be delayed for a week because of it… and another friend who moved out of the house whose husband died of brain cancer to a different house with her son about a year after his death to get space but she still hung up paintings that dad had made for son in his room… and another who was acknowledging the one year anniversary of his friends brain cancer death… and another who had officially hit a big 5 year mark…and those were all within a few days and each of them messed with me. And the simple truth is that none of those people are people I would have met had I not “decided” to be active in the cancer world as whatever label you want to put on me. And there are times where I wonder why exactly I keep doing this when there are days I feel exhausted by it all. But then I’m reminded of a story from the West Wing…

This guy's walkin' down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, "Hey you! Can you help me out?" The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole, and moves on. 

Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, "Father, I'm down in this hole; can you help me out?" The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. 

Then a friend walks by. "Hey, Joe, it's me. Can ya help me out?" And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, "Are ya stupid? Now we're both down here." The friend says, "Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out."

And then the guy with memory problems remembers that when this all started, even with Livestrong and with good people, he couldn’t seem to find any others who had the human experience. And I love my doctors but I see them when I see them and while I like them, the less I see them the more I like them. And I love my church and I sat further up there on Sunday hearing the preacher talk about the messes that the ones who were trying to further ministry had gone through. But it is these friends, who I am not sure on any given day which one of us is jumping in for the other or how stupid it is. Nor am I sure that either of us will ever find the way out… but it is these friends, that humanity that makes the hole a little bit easier to live in. 

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