I apologize upfront but prepare yourself for a cliché ridden post.
For some people diagnosed with cancer, their journey can be more of a sprint. They have treatment(s) and then try to figure out how to live between check-ups and the 5 year ‘all clear’ milestone. This is true of many cancers survivors, not just those diagnosed with prostate cancer. There is no judgment in my observation, I’m just pointing this out as a way to contrast the experience to my journey.
My journey is a marathon and a mega-marathon at that! Imagine you run, and run and run until you are almost completely exhausted physically and mentally. Then, all of the sudden you round a corner and there is the finish line. As you cross however, it is merely to begin another lap and not to break the tape and throw up your arms in joy. For me, and the other survivors in similar situations, when we cross the line, we know there is no celebration. For us, we have to suck it up, dig down deep and begin another lap around the course, the course that is our treatments.
So tomorrow, when I get off the subway in Boston and cross the street (the finish line) and enter the hospital to begin my next lap, I will suck it up once again. I will dig down in the depths of my soul to find the strength, the courage and the hope needed to get me through this next lap on the journey. The terrain will be tough, there may be storms, the headwinds will stall my progress and the tailwinds will help me along. I will complete the lap.
There is a question I constantly ponder. The question is once again going to remain unanswered for the near term and it may only be revealed in the months ahead – ‘The next time I cross the finish line, will I be celebrating or will I once again dig deep and trudge on and on for yet another lap?’