There are no coincidences. A live version of “Badlands” (I always prefer the live versions of this song) came on the radio this morning as I was on my way to radiation #10 of 20, and it brought back a lot of memories. I was reminded of all the Ironman races I’ve done, and the words to that song have carried me through. I usually sing it to myself during the second half of the marathon. Then I really thought that this is just like an Ironman — I’ve had my surgery and all that’s left is a couple of scars, I’ve finished chemotherapy with no hair and a lot of skin rashes and now I’m in the second half of my radiation treatments. This is just another kind of badlands.
“For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside,
That it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive
I wanna find one face that ain’t looking through me
I wanna find one place,
I wanna spit in the face of these…
Badlands, you gotta live it every day,
Let the broken hearts stand
As the price you’ve gotta pay,
We’ll keep movin’ ’til it’s understood,
And these badlands start treating us good.”
I’m left with the only choice that I’ve ever had — keep moving, till these badlands start treating me good. That will only be when I’m out the other side of all of this. I don’t like a lot about radiation. My two technicians, Chris and Elena, couldn’t be nicer. The facility is beautiful and the room is like stepping into the future. It’s a quick process — 1 minute and 15 seconds to be exact. A bit over two minutes when I also need x-rays (once a week). Fortunately, I don’t actually see the bank vault type door which closes during the treatment. When it was mentioned once and I actually noticed the door it made me feel very claustrophobic although the room is huge. But radiation, different but in many ways just like chemotherapy, also carries with it a lot of risk. But, it’s all risks I feel I need to take. If cancer ever comes back I don’t want any regrets about the choices I made about my treatment.
I finished reading a book this weekend that was part of one of the many thoughtful gifts I have received. Patty put together a box of books that were recommended by friends. Aimee recommended a book called November 9, by Colleen Hoover. Something towards the end of the book also really spoke to me. It’s something that has been inside me since this journey all started back in March.
“But that’s the thing about cancer. They call it the fight, as if the stronger ones win and the weaker ones lose, but that’s not what cancer is at all.
Cancer isn’t one of the players in the game. Cancer is the game.
It doesn’t matter how much endurance you have. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve practiced. Cancer is the be-all and end-all of the sport, and the only thing you can do is show up to the game with your jersey on. Because you never know . . . you might be forced to sit the bench for the entire game. You may not even be given the chance to compete.”
This doesn’t mean I’m being negative at all. But, it’s a reality I’ve had to face and there was something reassuring about reading it in black and white.
On the other side of all of this, I spent two days in Chattanooga this past weekend, at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. I guess I could write about the excitement and pride I felt about being on Women for Tri board that helped shape some of the format surrounding two days of racing, an all-women race on Saturday followed by an all-men race on Sunday. What was more exciting and really spoke to my soul was the people. Triathlon has grown so much since I first got involved back in the 90s, and even more so since it’s inception of course. But what I love about it and what keeps me coming back is the bonds that I’ve made over the years because of the sport. I loved seeing so many friends. And I’ll leave it at that, with some pictures from the weekend and a renewed desire to be back on a starting line soon.