It’s Mile 20 in the Marathon
Hitting the wall after last frontline chemo treatment
I used to be an athlete. Well, let me rephrase that. I used to be athletic. I’ve run my fair share of marathons, half-marathons, and adventure races. I’ve ridden my road bike across the state of Colorado among other places. I’ve pushed my boundaries testing my strength and endurance limits. I did these things for me, never for the competition. I chose these experiences. I enjoyed them.
Getting a cancer diagnosis and going through the long, arduous treatment is often compared to participating in athletic-type endurance events. Well, at least many people around me have suggested I consider this treatment akin to running a marathon. Let me tell you why I struggle with this analogy. As I just mentioned above, I didn’t choose to run this race, enter this event. I didn’t have time to train for it, nor did I even know how to train for it. I don’t know the race course. This is like no athletic event I have ever experienced.
Except, I’m pretty sure that I’m at mile 20 in the marathon. For those of you who have run marathons, it’s called “hitting the wall”. It’s that place in the 26.2 mile race where you are both physically and mentally done and still have 6.2 miles to go. Physically, your muscles are depleted, your dehydrated, your legs feel like concrete blocks, your headachy and nauseous and you still have 6.2 miles to go. This can go one of two ways. It will either break you mentally or take your mental coping tools to a new height. And, yes, I’ve experienced both outcomes.
So, how did I break through that 20-mile wall? Nothing fancy. I told myself to run to the next sign post, the next mailbox, the next block. I would get to point and say it all over again. Run to the next sign post, the next mailbox, the next block. Again. And, again. Until I could say, run to the finish line. You see it now. It’s just ahead.
I’m a little over half-way through enduring the side effects of cycle #6. I can’t see the finish line. People tell me it’s there, just around the corner, just over the hill. They are cheering me on. I can hear them. So, until I see the finish line, I’m going to set my sites on getting to the next mailbox.