Leo a week or two before Moira's Diagnosis
Here's the little guy now!
Now, I run almost every day and Leo is almost a year old. Obama has faced myriad challenges in a groundbreaking year, and this week, we get to see what the New GM has to offer at the North American International Auto Show. So many things have changed, and we are no exception. When we finally arrived here at the “finish” line as a family, we drove home, practically in silence. I wasn’t ready for that.
As self-appointed family cheerleader, I figured we’d be breaking out the champagne, but instead it was an uneasy, almost unwelcome feeling. Moira was, in a way, scared and sad to see the trappings of the Cancer Center shrink in the car’s rear-view mirror. The past few weeks, Moira took part in a program called Cancer Transitions at the Wellness Community, a local organization to whom I have dedicated my running and fundraising efforts. Cancer Transitions helps recent survivors step back into mainstream life. It helps them accept the “new normal” life that a cancer survivor is presented with. She met a group of other survivors and told me plenty of stories with inspiration and heartbreaking emotional weight.
Even equipped with those experiences, I felt like we could never have been prepared for our oncologist saying goodbye. Our next appointment isn’t for 3 months, which seems like an eternity. The whole morning was bittersweet. Leaving treatment is a great thing, obviously. Cancer gone? Check. That said, how do you go back to dealing with the day-to-day aches and pains or tiredness that chasing a little toddler can bring? You won’t be seeing the oncologist for months. Is that ache in your ribcage something to worry about? Who knows.
As Moira’s supporter, all I can do is encourage her, pray for her, support her, and do my best to listen and give advice. At some point it is essential for a cancer survivor to hang up the paper gown and enjoy the fruit of their accomplishment….at least, the fruit of their accomplishment thus far. That brings us to the second big challenge of this transition…is the fight with cancer REALLY over? Luckily, Moira’s cancer had not metastasized and her chemotherapy was designed to prevent it from doing so, as well as to soften the beaches for surgery. After surgery, the cancer was technically gone.
For some, chemo is the only treatment they can apply at all, and there is no surgical option. The strength it must take to get out of bed every day when you can’t get a formal turning point like surgery must be immense. I know other cancer survivors who are dealing with just that situation. They tell me that they range from feeling 100 percent to feeling like a ticking time bomb…just waiting for the cancer to come out of remission.
It seems fitting that we met our initial fundraising goal this week, just days after we finished treatment. My readers, friends, co-workers, and family have been incredibly generous. It helped a great deal as we tried to bring closure to the experience. It gave us something else to focus on with this new free time - when Moira would have been at Radiation Oncology, or in the Infusion Center. Now, we can put the whole issue to bed in February, when I run the Mardi Gras Half Marathon in New Orleans in honor of the Wellness Community and the many, many cancer fighters I have met this year. Thanks to Moira’s inspiring example, and my new friends in the running community, I actually feel like I can accomplish my goal of running the 13.1 miles in under 2 hours. I’d better get back on the road, though…it’s sneaking up fast and I have a training schedule to meet. On her last day, Moira’s radiation tech congratulated her and told her to “get a new hobby.” I wonder how she feels about running.