I always go back to distance running when I think about my cancer journey. A long, long time ago, I ran track, and then for a time in my 20’s I tried/and successfully completed a triathlon. The route ahead of me is arduous and somewhat reminiscent of my younger training days. I have a total of 25 radiation treatments that will launch immediately into 4 months of chemotherapy (with a few weeks off for good behavior in July). So, what does it take to do an endurance event? First, the right state of mind. When my children were little I would read them a book called Those Can-Do Pigs. The message of the book is that there nothing that is impossible! When I teach Physics, I tell my students that we have so much information that it is almost impossible to cover it in our course, but that it can be done one step at a time. I tell them that we will eat that elephant one bite at a time….and we do (Refer to the man who ate an airplane). Your belief in your ability to finish is key! If you think you can’t, you can’t.
According to my daughter’s 1500 meter track coach, Coach Jimmy, you need to set the pace right off the blocks. As I am 8 radiation treatments into 25, I can say √…to that. My side effects at this point are some fatigue and nausea, similar to training days of the past but nothing unmanageable. In a cancer race….good nutrition, rest, and exercise are all part of the training process. Sounds easy, but not always so. It also helps to have some motivational quotes and faith to bolster your race. The hardest part in a triathlon (for me) was coming off the bike and then running. I love this quote…”Running after riding a bike is different from running on fresh legs. Prior activity makes you feel heavy-legged and uncoordinated when you start running.” My guess, and it is a guess at this point, that chemo directly after radiation is harder than just going directly at it. I have a bonus in that my doctors and chemo nurses are amazing! Plus, this is not my first time in the cancer race. Race experience in both traithlons and chemotherapy is a bonus. Just like in traithlons, it pays to have a race strategy! I am pretty sure Coach Jimmy also said to end strong! That’s the plan!