Last Saturday, I took Graham and Celia to the Teal Trot for ovarian cancer. My sister in laws’s mom passed away from Ovarian cancer about 6 years ago. We have done this walk for a few years now , before and after Mike’s diagnosis, and the day continues to provide so much hope each time.
I had been fighting a rough cold and respiratory infection all week, thanks to nasty school germs. Normally I can push through but this one brought me down. Still, living next to someone fighting cancer, puts even a rough cold in perspective.
I was going to push through with the double stroller that morning for the walk anyways. But when we got there , I got concerned that the heat and the 75 lbs I would be pushing might take me out. So I decided , disappointedly, to let C and G enjoy the balloon animal man and snow cones.
We decided we would cheer on all the walkers and runners at the finish line.
I am not usually one who wants to sit back and cheer. I have two COMPETITIVE brothers and never want to be left behind, I had to prove to them and myself that a girl is equally capable .I remember saying when I was little that , I didn’t want to be a cheerleader- I wanted to be the one playing basketball and cheered for.
I like to be in on the action, sweating and winning :)
But this morning , as I cheered, I learned a valuable lesson. I watched cancer fighters and their loved ones complete this race. They finished through sweat ( because it was 1000 degrees) and many tears.
Salt water, it is healing. I felt honored to be able to cheer them on.
It also made me realize why I struggle many days as a care giver.I want to be physically in the battle and I can’t be.
I think that although cancer is a sport to battle, it also is a spectator sport for those loved ones watching.
It leaves me with so many days of waiting and watching. Trying to anticipate this relentless beasts next move. Because cancer does not care how tough you are it shows no mercy.
It leaves me feeling like I wish I could fight the battle for him.
It leaves me angry that I can not fight it for him or at least minimize the suffering.
I have become the cheer leader against my natural need to be in the fight. I cheer him on in whatever way I can . But sometimes it still does not feel like enough. And that is a tough pill to swallow.
However, I am grateful for this honor. This life lesson. To learn what an important roll it is to be a cheer leader. Mike is my hero . He is my favorite player in the game. He is my Matt Ryan to Jake :)
And I will cheer him on to the finish line, to the day he beats my arch enemy. And for all the days after.
The quote I want to share is by Rainer Rilke.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
There are so many questions that I fight with in my head EVERY day. Especially as symptoms arise for Mike and Pet scans become in sight. I do not understand life. I do not understand this journey. I do not understand the pain. The pain that we feel each and every day. And patients is not my strong suit. Kinda goes hand in hand with cheering on the sidelines. I need the action and answers now. But I do trust that we may not be able to handle answers to questions that feel urgent. This has been ever true to the past two and 1/2 years.
So I try to love the questions and be patient. I try to live the questions now.
Another interesting fact- about the author of the quote I came to learn about this week. He suffered from Leukemia.
It made me feel less alone knowing that someone else facing them same battle trusted the journey and lived the question.
I wish you that ability this week. To be ok with cheering , to be ok with NOT knowing, to be ok with trusting the journey.
Thank you for cheering us on!
You can also race with us or cheer us on at the Winship 5kon October 13th
sign up here :)