July 12, 2012: Cool Down

After a particularly tough run or ride, it is highly recommended that you do what is called a “cool-down.” It means you jog around for about 10 minutes and try to let your body get over the torture you have just put it through.

I hate cool-downs. When I run, I like to hit the finish with nothing left in the tank. When I finish running, I want to crawl into a nice bowl of soup, close my eyes, and open my mouth. The last thing on Earth I want to do is continue running, even though it’s at a nice and “easy” pace. Heck, after a long run, driving can be hard, let alone running a bit more.

So Stella and I continue on our incredible journey and I’d say we have been in the “cool-down” phase. We have finished the really, really hard part, but still have to have scans and doctor’s appointments and so forth that we would just as well skip.

I have not written for a long time. But you know it’s really hard to follow a post called the Happiest Day of My Life with musings on a bike race. People have become so accustomed to hearing the latest update about Stella’s condition that I don’t think many will be interested in my take on the dominance of the Sky team or Nibali’s chance of using his technical skill to gain time on the descents. (This is where you politely nod your head.)

We have had scans and blood tests and check-ups. And we will continue to have scans, and blood tests, and check-ups for we hope a very, very, very long time. The details are not important. What is important is that the latest scan shows “no evidence of disease.” Which is not surprising since Stella shows “no evidence of being sick.”

Stella and I have resumed our lives and most things are as they were a year ago (yeah, it’s been a year.) So she is a little thinner.

We were at a party recently where someone who had just met Stella asked her how she was able to stay so thin. While I was hoping she would give an answer like “well, spend a year having toxins pumped into your system and then have your stomach and a few other internal organs cut out,” she just smiled and said “thank you.”

Ah, another missed opportunity.

Things have almost returned to normal. But, I know, some things never will. Stella now prays for and sometimes corresponds with people who are right now going through cancer treatments. I cannot read the story of someone battling the disease without feeling emotionally torn. Yes, we survived against the odds. But we know that not everyone will. And quite frankly, that pisses me off.

Now the good news is that every day, medical breakthroughs are being made. Less than ten years ago, the daily oral chemotherapy drug that Stella took was not available. Back then, patients who needed it had to go every day to the hospital for an IV. It still makes your hair fall out and makes you nauseous. But if you have to be bald and nauseous, wouldn’t you rather be so at home?

It’s interesting. When Stella first got sick, many people came by with books and stories of people they had heard of who had terrible diagnosis but then were cured. I was not that interested because it seemed to be too much to believe in. I was sure that none of those people could have been has sick as Stella.

But now she is the miracle. And for anyone, anywhere given a horrible prognosis, I want to scream IF SHE CAN DO IT, YOU CAN. DON’T GIVE UP! There were no asterisks or conditions, they said the cancer could not go away, AND IT DID. They said she would need chemo for the rest of her life, AND SHE DOESN’T. And now I know, there are many, many other brave warriors like this little girl on the right.

Believe me, I know that at times the hope seems to disappear. That is why we must all spread Stella’s story. Yes, those who are sick need our prayers. But they also need our hope. And Stella’s story is a story of hope.

Now we are planning something, something really, really big. It will be big and important and help those battling for their lives.

And it will be thoroughly insane. I guarantee it.

But I’m not quite ready to make it public. Soon.

Because I want you to know something.

Cancer may be finished with us, we hope and pray.

But we’re not finished with cancer.

Not by a long shot.


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