Funny how getting diagnosed with a very real and very scary disease can evoke all kinds of words being tossed around...all with good intent of course, but being the one sorting through all this...the diagnosis and the good intents, you really start to overanalyze every little detail...right down to use of language and words. This diagnosis of Metastic Melanoma (no, this is NOT a f*&%ing journey, adventure, or bump in the road)...this is cancer...and ironically, as I deal with cancer daily, it reminds me of running a marathon.
For one thing, yes, I do believe that attitude is everything...but let's make something very clear...I did not need to be diagnosed with cancer to have
a good perspective on life. For the record, the definition of perspective is "a point of view used to look at things or attitude towards things." Anyone who has ever ran or been any kind of competitive athlete with any kind of success...has good perspective when it comes to their sport (running, team sports, etc). I have ran only two marathons...the first one to qualify for Boston, the second, running Boston. It's fair to say I have a great attitude towards the ups and downs of my running and the ups and downs of life. I never would have made it through the training to begin with if I didn't have a good perspective to begin with.
Perception, however, is another word...often used interchangeably with perspective. Perception is the interpretation one gives through his awareness or a process of being aware through the senses. The perception of marathons from the average person is pretty fair...I will tell you that marathons and marathon training is not easy. It is hard, it hurts, and many, many times you will want to quit. Every sense you have will be taxed...and then, there are the emotional ones...you'll have good runs, horrible runs, and all other kinds in between. Physically, you'll be sick to your stomach, be ravenously hungry, cramp so bad you're not sure you can walk...let alone run...that is your body perceiving what is real stress on it. It is aware of how taxing marathon training and marathons are.
As I sort through this diagnosis...and yet another surgery next week where they will do what's called a pelvic dissection of my lymph nodes...my perception of my body has changed....my body is stressed physically....and emotionally, I don't know when I will run again...there's a chance I may not be able to safely run ever again....and that brings the kind of emotional pain only a runner would understand.
This is reality...this is not me having a bad perspective on my diagnois...this is my perception of what could happen based on what the surgeons have told me regarding recovery, complications and the after. My perception has already told me that this is going to suck...I already am still healing...still in pain from one of my 3 inch incisions...some days it hurts to sit, stand, walk & just be. My perception is that frankly, cancer does suck...and anyone who has been through it or loved someone who has been through it or is going through it and has an inkling of what they are physically going through...they have an accurate perception on this disease, and they will tell you, yes, it does suck....and that's without getting into the whole emotional side of what cancer does to you.
But like a marathon, with a cancer diagnosis, you gain new and different perspectives through each mile...each one can evoke a different emotion...some moments I want to cry...cry because I physically am in pain and have no control over it. Other moments I want to cry because like the oncologists commented at my last visit, "so basically, other than this...this cancer...you can run circles around everyone"....a compliment yes, but all I can think is right now, yes, but what about after my surgery...when I'm told I cannot do anything with my lower body while I recover....and what if, what if, what if...
When I come to the good miles, and there are some good miles...I think f&*k the doctors, the surgeons....all of them...they don't know me. Don't tell me statistics...don't tell me what I can and cannot do...you don't know me....I have a great perspective on life...I always have. I don't need cancer to give me good perpective...I just need me...becuase I am a fighter, and I don't do what everybody else is doing...I run to the beat of my own run...
Because of cancer, my perception of the world may have changed...it is a cruel reminder that people, real people go through horrible, horrible things all the time...someone, somewhere is fighting a battle of their own...in pain physically and emotionally.... That line...of where the world is good and where real people are going through real battles...it's so fine...you just never know when you might end up on the other side.
Before and after the diagnosis, my perspective, has remained unchanged. I am not always strong...I cry like the best of them...but I believe that overall, in most moments, I have an excellent attitude, good times and bad. My job on this earth is to set an example for three little ladies...my goal for them is that they will always have a good perspective on life, through the good times and bad...through tears and laughter...through all the miles of the marathon...
- What started as a little experiment in blogging has evolved into my renewed love for writing the raw, gritty truth. Running has always had so many parallels to life's ups and downs. As a new cancer survivor/fighter, running and writing has continued to be there for me in my quest to always move forward, always try to be better than yesterday. Find me: http://www.curetoday.com/community/kate or on facebook: running, cancer, and everything in between or on twitter: runliftbreathe