I need to say this…
But first… the back story.
So here’s the thing, I had cancer. And while I don’t need to get into all the specifics of it here, just know I had it, I had chemo, I’m done with treatment for now, bleh.
Now, awhile back I decided to go for a run. Running has been difficult. All the cutting and poison can take a long time for a body to recover from, of course, they don’t tell you this.
“You’ll be up and at it in no time!”
And for some I suspect that’s true, not so much for me.
It wouldn’t be such a big deal if I weren’t one of those people who just can’t be still. I like to be getting things done. I’m fiercely independent, I’ve always been, just ask my mother. I’m also a teeny-weeny-bit stubborn.
Soooo not being able to do the things I’ve been used to doing is, well, FRUSTRATING to say the least.
Back to the run…
I’m training for a 5k (3.1 miles). Something that used to be a no-brainer is now a hot sweaty mess of huffing and puffing that requires training.
I decided to run on a nearby trail knowing I’d have to go up and down, and I figured it would get my lungs stronger faster. I have a 3-mile loop I’ve mapped out and I’ve run it a couple of times, timing various sections to see if I was improving.
A few weeks ago I decided to tackle that loop.
It was warm, the sun was overhead, and I was a little tired, but I was looking forward to being outside.
At about the ½ mile mark… six-ish minutes… I glanced up the trail and lost focus.
I’ve been experiencing light dizziness for months but nothing major. Unfortunately, at that moment, my brain sent signals to my body and it adjusted to the sudden loss of focus… and my foot lowered, just a little bit, which caused it to catch on a rock.
So the rocks on the trail are IN the trail, like embedded, they don’t move. When my toe caught, it was like catching a concrete parking block, my right leg tried to get ahead of me and save me… but I was moving too fast and well, I knew I was going down.
I put my hands out, rolled as soon as they touched. I rolled up into a sitting position and then cussed… loudly. More than once.
Of course the rash on my legs was the first noticeable injury, no major bleeding. I could see there would be bruises. A cut on a finger no biggie. No cactus sticking out of me. But my forearm… very large lump getting larger.
I stood up waiting for my heart rate to relax, looked around and then wo-manned-up and kept going.
I posted some pics of my injuries on Facebook with the story. It should have ended there.
But, as usual, whenever I talk about the big ‘c’ and things like this run, I get messages about how strong I am, how inspirational I am, etc. And I appreciate those messages for sure!
I started, however, to think about my attitude this time because the reality is this, I’m a happy person.
When I post to Facebook, my messages about my “plight” have a positive slant and the truth is I’m not pretending to be positive or happy or a warrior… I just am.
I really do fall down, injure myself, cuss, dust off, cuss some more, and then get on with it… metaphorically and literally.
Now, that’s not to say that I don’t have down days. Of course, we all have them. Mine are mostly down moments. As soon as I start to feel a bit down, a little bit sorry for myself, or even a little bit angry, I just move on. I change focus.
We are all wired differently. Some of us can get past things quickly, some of us can’t.
I’m one of those people that gets over things pretty fast and what I can tell you about it is this… it takes work. If you don’t get past things quickly, it might just be that you haven’t been taught how to do it. Or maybe it just feels really hard to do… but that’s the thing… it’s supposed to be hard.
So I thought I’d tell you my secret.
I’m not an expert but in the last two and half years I’ve experienced “divorce”, loss of a business, cancer, major surgery, loss of job because of cancer, chemotherapy, legal battle for my house, and legal battle over medical discrimination.
On the Holmes and Rahn Stress Scale, I’ve experienced 3 of the top 10 life stressors – one of them twice.
I could roll up into a ball and stay in bed for weeks and no one would fault me. But I choose not to.
So how do you get past something big? How do you avoid the big pity party? How do you move past or deal with adversity? And how do you become all the things you see in the person that inspires you?
It’s the single biggest factor in overcoming anything.
Maybe you didn’t know this but you can choose to be indifferent, you can choose to move on, you can choose to be a warrior.
You don’t have to feel fear, guilt, sadness, overwhelmed… if you don’t want to.
There’s no law that says when you get cancer you need to be scared shitakeless.
Yeah, it sucks, I’m not saying you should be happy. What I am saying is that you can choose to refuse to feel fear and focus on something else instead.
The key is to accept what is and then decide how you want to feel about it or how you want to be.
For me, I simply wanted to be through it.
So I decided to focus on all of the steps required to get past it. I tried to be as informed as possible so I could power through decisions and then I decided that, based on everything I knew about my diagnosis, I would kick asslet.
I simply changed my focus to kicking asslet.
Now I didn’t focus on kicking cancer’s asslet because I couldn’t control that. I decided to kick asslet on the process of my recovery.
I didn’t hide from the situation, I spoke openly about what was happening, and I accepted graciously every single prayer, email, note, gift, and out-pouring of love and kindness.
I chose not to cry, I chose not to be scared, I chose to look at positive outcomes first and accept the possibility of negative ones. When I felt overwhelmed by pain or discomfort or bad news, I shifted focus to “what is my next step”. I looked ahead. Recovery.
I’ve used this same process of accepting and deciding to deal with not just the big ‘c’ but also my “divorce”, my job loss due to discrimination, the loss of control, and even the day my battery died in my car.
Accept. Decide. Choose.
So why did I throw myself on that dusty trail a few weeks ago? Well, so I could tell you all about how to be an inspiration to someone else. I’m not anymore special than you are. I just choose to be a warrior because if I wait around for someone else to choose it for me… I’m going to be waiting a long time.
I say stop waiting.
Embrace your inner warrior, let it out, dust it off and then get out and kick some asslet.