CANCER, A CAUSE CLOSE TO OUR HEART.
As triathletes, we get frustrated about little things disrupting our Type A lives and training. Stormy mornings, flat tires, flaky childcare, realizing we’re out of our favorite flavor of sports drink the morning of a long run – these are definitely things that have felt worthy of tantrums in the past. They’ve felt like real hurdles to overcome. They’re bumps in the road that, if and when we got through them, led us to fist pumps and pelvic thrusts and maybe a couple of middle fingers in their general direction because, YEAH! We did it!
But we know that there are no guarantees. You can train your ass off, follow your plan perfectly, and still end up having a terrible race or even a DNF. For all the planning and preparation we put into it, triathlon is unpredictable.
As is life.
This fact has been driven home in a big, heavy way over the few years as we’ve watched a number of our Coeur teammates receive cancer diagnoses. Moria Horan, Ruth Rickey, Peggy Neidig, Ellen Wexler....we’ve watched them go from long distance endurance training to often being forced into a chemo chair or surgery. And we’ve been in awe. Because they just keep going.
Perspective is an amazing thing. With these team diagnosis, we are reminded that not every victory is a big, splashy one.
Sometimes, for triathletes, it’s simply getting out for a workout or making it to the starting line when the odds are stacked against you.
Sometimes, for cancer patients, it means making it across the room without stopping to rest when that kind of feat seems absolutely monumental. It means being able to handle a newly articulated diagnosis. It means being able to stomach a nutritious smoothie. It means getting out to your daughter’s track meet. It means wearing a scarf with confidence when your hair falls out. Maybe it means getting out for a ride because you’re feeling great, and maybe it means taking the day to rest because that’s exactly what your body needs. Today.
Cancer isn’t you. Not at all. Not even a little. It certainly isn’t worthy of taking your whole day. Today. Whether you have cancer or love someone fighting it, don’t let cancer take your today.
The crappy truth is that not everyone wins the cancer fight no matter how strong or determined they are. I don’t like to think of these good folks as “losers,” who weren’t “strong" enough or didn't "fight" hard enough. Quite to the contrary.
Quick story, Gentle Reader...
When I was a freshman in high school, my grandmother (who I looooooved) was in the last throes of breast cancer. We had just moved back to the States after being in London for 5 years. New home, new school, new people, different country. And my grandmother was dying. It was a crazy time for my family.
my maternal grandmother, Virginia.
But one of the things we were set on in the midst of this madness was celebrating my grandma and lavishing love on her in the time she had left. A few weeks before she died, with the terminal script written, my family threw a party for her. Huh? Yup, that may sound a little weird, but there she was in her hospital bed in the middle of the living room, all tubes and beeps, but surrounded by those who loved her the most in the whole world.
And we told stories. And we laughed. And we hugged. And toasted her.
And, yes, it still SUCKED when she died but our memories aren’t of those painful last breathes but rather of all the uh-mazing times we had with her. We created those mind frames and reality. Not cancer. What a gift those were! We are so lucky to have them. And she deserved them.
The truth is cancer patients don’t always win. And yes, F*CK cancer for that. But don’t let it take your TODAY.
Cancer doesn’t win if you don’t give it the power. Whether suffering from it or watching a loved one suffer from it, cancer isn’t you and doesn’t define you. Sure, you may have cancer. But you are not cancer. And the awesome part about that is you still have right now to live. Today.
It is a difficult mindset to grasp when you can’t eat, are in pain, and are scared. But you can work toward it. YOU have the power to the very end.
A year after a breast cancer diagnosis and chemo, the beautiful Moira Horan finishes Ironman Lake Placid this July. So strong!
Ellen Wexler, a multiple time Kona qualifier who was recently diagnosed with skin cancer and is waiting to find out if it has spread to lymph nodes or further, had this to say, “"NOT TODAY CANCER nails it on the head. NOT TODAY - focus on the present, today, I HAVE TODAY!!!! One day at a time. I'm not giving in, the future is uncertain, but today is TODAY and I can stand up to that! It's strength and resilience and courage and even feels like some acceptance, in a way. I'm not angry at my body - I'm so thankful for it!”
Not today, Cancer. I don’t know what the future will bring, but today, in this moment, I win. What is realistic and helpful (albeit tough) is recognizing the power of finding the joy in every moment we have.
Coeur wants to do our part to support these incredible athletes as they, day after day, tell cancer, “Nope, not today,” and we’re proud to offer our limited edition Not Today Cancer cycling and tri kits. 100% of profits go to The American Cancer Society. We don’t make ANY money on these. Not one dime. We feel strongly that Coeur needs to do its small part when research needs ALL THE FUNDING.
Fight on, Good People.