Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Good Luck, Lake Tahoe Cycle Team!

To the Tahoe TNT Cycle Team, Coaches, and Mentors:

I had lunch with your Team Virginia Coach, Susan, today, and she was telling me about your upcoming race, er, ride around Lake Tahoe this Sunday, June 3. It got me thinking about what an adventure the group of you is in for – 100 miles around a beautiful lake, all the ups and downs, peaks and valleys, tremendous scenery. You’ve trained so hard for this race, er, ride! You will need all of your training, grit, and determination to complete 100 miles in California on Sunday. It should be a wild ride, eh? All for a great cause – to help those enduring cancers, and to help develop more cures for blood cancers specifically, but for all cancers ultimately.

As Susan talked about your race, er, ride, it got me thinking about another more distant June 3, one that is important to me personally. For exactly 10 years from this Sunday, June 3, 2002, I took my very first step into the chemotherapy room to get my first batch of chemo for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I had not trained for this. It was a surprise, a bolt from the blue that had arrived just weeks before. I didn’t feel ready for it. I didn’t want to get chemo – in fact, I dreaded it that first day, and that first week. As in your race, er, ride, there were lots of ups and downs, peaks and valleys for the six months I had to get treatment. Not much nice scenery though – leaning over the water in a toilet bowl is not quite a scenic as Lake Tahoe should be. At least I sure hope not, for your sake! But like you, I needed grit and determination – that feeling that I would take it one day, one hour, one minute, or if need be, one second at a time to get through it. That is what cancer patients need to get through such an experience, if they are lucky.

I was one of the very lucky ones. I survived, and am happy and grateful for this. And I am particularly grateful to have lived 10 years now, to the point where the awful experience of chemotherapy is greatly faded. But I also feel sadness when I think of some others who didn’t have my luck: your Coach Susan’s dad several years ago. My good friend, Judy, who died in January 2011 just four weeks after her multiple myeloma diagnosis. My dear sister, Ann, deceased exactly a year ago today after her four-year difficult fight with breast cancer. My friend Faith, dead from Hodgkin’s lymphoma – the “good cancer" – this past February.

You can see that there is still plenty to be done, and you are out there helping to do it. I wanted to be sure to thank you for all you have done and are doing, and to wish you the very best on June 3. I’ll be thinking of you, cheering you from afar, and wishing you all have a great race, er, ride! This 10 year survivor salutes you!

Go Team!

1 comment:

TNTcoach Ken said...

Glad to hear Art! I agree, GO TEAM!