Terms associated with war are often associated with cancer. Many cancer patients despise them because dying of cancer does not mean you did not fight hard enough to beat cancer. No matter how hard I try, I will die from metastatic breast cancer. (I’m generally okay with the terms – so please don’t think that is the focus of this post. ) I’m experiencing a lot more pain the last few days and it makes me wonder about the difference between accepting and fighting.
I have a great medical team working to help me live a great life with my family. My therapeutic massages relieve my pain – I only wish I could afford them more often. Staying active hurts but also helps me in the long run.
The day I found the lump in my breast is the same day I ran 10k for the first time. I discovered cancer when I was in the best physical shape I had been in for decades. Twenty-two months later I am in the worst physical shape ever. And I know it will only get worse – not because I am lazy or not “fighting.” My Fitbit is now set to a pathetic daily step goal of 5000. Most days I make it, but not all. There are so many things I cannot physically tolerate anymore. And I hate it. And I fight it, mentally and physically. And I am tired of fighting it.
I am trying to shift my thoughts to accepting the realities of stage 4 cancer and resilience. I am trying to be resilient instead of warring. There is a thin line between accepting and fighting; I’m trying to find that line and keep my balance on it.
I have a new personal trainer who is relentless. She makes me keep walking when I’m tired. My view the entire time we are walking is her butt in front of me, relentlessly moving forward. She wants to walk no matter the time or day, the weather, or how I feel.
Our walks in the tiny town I live near take us by the Elliott Veterans Memorial. Yesterday I was in so much pain that I wondered if I would have to call someone to pick us up. I stopped at the memorial to reflect on Memorial Day.
I am proud that we have this memorial in a town of 300. I am especially proud of this bench in memory of my dad, an Air Force Veteran.
I sat on the bench and Indie immediately put her chin on my legs. You see, my personal trainer also knows when I need a moment. It was that moment that I became determined to shift my focus from fighting reality to accepting it, while working to make the most of this life with stage 4 cancer. I refuse to see 5000 steps as a defeat. I also refuse to look at the days I cannot muster that many as a bad day. So I will continue to work hard for the best life I can have with Dave, Ross, Darrin and Haley. And I will accept that those days will not be like they were 2 years ago. Despite my physical limitations, I intend to make every day one filled with joy.