“Do it, Harold. Six months. It’s nothing. It’s a hockey season.” – Lt. Daniel Kaffee in “A Few Good Men”
This has been quite the season. A season full of changes and challenges.
In October, when my mom was on the beginning leg of her cancer journey, I was busy. Busy with life. Moving at Mach Five. A hampster on a spinning wheel. The Road Runner. Going here and there, wondering how I’d get it all done.
The cancer and chemo stopped me dead in my tracks. Momentarily. And then, I jumped back into the rat race. Faster and faster. It was a fast pace. One that I would have been fine with, were it not for the challenges of life. Outside of cancer and chemo, life challenged me on every turn and the faster I ran, the harder I rounded those corners. The harder I wiped out.
And so, I made some changes. While cancer and chemo were winding down, I stepped away from the track and got back on track.
Around that time, my mom was wrapping up chemo, preparing for surgery, and looking ahead to radiation.
The crawling phase only lasted so long. I was antsy to get moving again. Ready to jump back in, confident that my mom was good to go.
I filled my schedule, as I sought to fill it even fuller.
The news came back that my mom was cancer free. She started radiation – a piece of her cancer journey I never experienced (she drove herself everyday for sessions of typically harmful UV Rays on un-suncreened skin). I dusted off my running shoes , literally and figuratively, and set off.
I ran and ran. Striving for the next thing.
My new race had just begun and I was pacing myself, feeling the strain when I pushed too hard.
As the NHL season wrapped up, I thought we were in the clear. That we’d won.
But I got caught flat footed. Didn’t keep my head up.
Because the next life-threatening, life-changing event hit me after the whistle.
The stroke my dad suffered was significant. Half of the right hemisphere of his brain was affected.
As with my mom’s heart surgery and chemo battle, we waited for test results and good news.
It came. Slowly, but surely. Tests yielded results – answers. Doctors gave thumbs up – approval.
And my dad went home (sincerest apologies for accidentally deleting my post, “Home”! I was trying to blog from my phone…).
The week plus one day since his discharge and I’m here.
I’ve slowed down again. Forfeited a race.
Because the races I’ve been running, though important, do not compare to the time spent fighting with and for my parents.
It’s been eight months since my mom found the lump. Seven months since the cancer was confirmed and the heart surgery was completed. Six months since chemo began. Months, months, and more months. Four months since the “all clear” call from my mom – the end of chemo. Months, months, and more months.
The month of June. Plans were planned. I was beginning that race again. Running here and there.
But now I’m not. I’m not running. I’m just here.
The cancer taught me to slow down. To re-examine. To ask myself some tough questions. To face challenges with an “I won’t back down” attitude. To fight the fight I needed to fight.
Thus far, the stroke is teaching me to slow down. To re-examine. To ask myself some tough questions. And though there is still some fight in me, I think this time is different. Different, how? That is yet to be determined.
Early inklings lead me to believe that this fight is harder. Coming at the end of the season. After sustaining hit after hit. With more opponents to face.
But there’s a hope at the end of the season – regardless of a great or horrible regular season – that the post-season will be great.
And there’s hope at the end of the post-season – regardless of championship rings or last place standings – that the off season will be great.
After all, it’s just a season.
And there’s always next season.