Monday, January 25, 2010

The Wall - A Marathoner's analogy

Deanna (my wife) has run many marathons in the past few years.  Last year she qualified and ran the prestigious Boston Marathon.  One of the things I have learned from her is that there is a phenomenon that marathoners refer to as "The Wall."  The wall comes upon some marathoners (even the best) usually at around the 22 mile mark.  For those of you not up on marathon details, the race is 26.2 miles.  So, the wall hits at around the last quarter of the race.

Evidently The wall experience is a predominantly psychological thing rather than a physical challenge.  The runner begins to have thoughts of quitting or letting go of their personal goal.  Of course there is a physical aspect to this, but the best of runners overcome the challenge with their minds through mental, or even vocal self talk.  When teamed with another runner, they can also get through this period with lots of positive coaching and verbal affirmations.

For cancer treatment patients, there is something sort of analogous to the marathoner's wall. Much like The Wall in marathons those of us undergoing chemo, radiation, and surgery can become mentally challenged with self defeating thoughts and burned out with the process.  It is at this point that having positive affirmations, strong faith in a positive outcome and,  for those of us that call ourselves believers, a continued belief in the power of prayer to keep mantra of "stay strong" a reality.

I took my first dose of Vicodin,, since starting the chemo/radiation process, tonight (I did need Vicodin for a few days following both the tonsillectomy and tube insertion surgeries).  I've been okay with Tylenol to this point, but after today's radiation, the pain needs a bigger foe.  I'm tired of getting poked for hydrations/chemo  and radiated and am dreading tomorrow.  I receive my final dose of cisplatin (chemo) tomorrow morning.  The week following the first two rounds was tough.  I have only 6 (out of 30) radiation treatments left with the last coming on Tuesday of next week. 

I know that God is with me each day.  Deanna is the wind in my sails and the prayers of others instill  hope for a cure and a cancer free life for whatever time God allows me to remain on this rock in this dimension.  Life here is really precious and there is so much left to experience (grand kids, growing old with Deanna, working in my garden, travel, and music, music, music!).

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