Running Life, Cancer and Chemo

I want to run so badly. I fell in love with it less than a year ago. I started hiking in the cold Maryland winters. I had never been a runner. I started walking. Then I walked faster, eventually mixing running with walking. A friend convinced me to complete a half marathon, which I signed up for last June. I had three months to train. I was in decent shape but had to increase my distance. I worked on it, running 12 miles the Saturday before the race, but I didn’t run again until race day. My calves were killing me beyond the point of muscle strain. My feet as well. I had already managed my way through mild tendonitis, so I figured a week off before the race would suffice for recovery time.

At mile three on race day I felt a twinge in my left foot. At mile five it started to hurt at every step. I continued to the turnaround point and one more mile. Then I stopped. The pain increased. I hobbled to the mile-nine checkpoint and asked for a ride to the starting point. Forty pained steps out of the car and I could barely put pressure on my foot. The second metatarsal was fractured.

I couldn’t run for two months and grew increasingly depressed about it. When November arrived I started running again. It felt pretty good, but harder than ever. I figured I was deconditioned. I continued to run. I ran through red desert dust and extreme heat while on a work trip in West Africa. I ran through frigid cold while home in Maryland. I ran through wheezing while on vacation in California. I hit my goal to reach three miles without stopping.

Still, my breathing wasn’t right. I discovered I had cancer. I fell ill from the diagnosis. Then I started treatment, and the fatigue has been debilitating.

I want to run so badly. It makes me feel so good. It makes me feel whole. It inspires me. It provides me resolve. It is my psychologist, my drug, my treatment. But I can only remember my fractured bone, my cancer. Still, I want to run so badly. I can see how it will make me feel. I can taste it, and it tastes delicious.

I start chemo again next Wednesday, and I’m going for a run before then.

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About Emerging Environments

Thoughts about environmental policy, sustainability, cancer, and more.
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