Sunday, July 31, 2011

Attitude is Everything

I refuse to lay down.
I will not throw in the towel.
I am not taking my ball and going home.
I will not quit.
Cancer has been one of the most influential teachers I have had in my life. The greatest lesson I have learned is that attitude is everything. If I say "I'm going to have a bad day today" I will most certainly have a bad day. If I let myself believe I am too tired to get off the couch my head will stay on the pillow and my feet will never touch the floor.
A month ago I got dropped by my cycling group when we reached the fast section on the route and I had to fight to catch back up to them and finish the ride. A day ago I got out alone on a breakaway at the same section and they had to chase me down and pull me back. I do not mention this to be boastful (truth be told, they did catch me, but I relished the period I was in the lead), I use this to remind myself to never quit, to not stop trying, to keep reminding cancer who is in charge. Attitude is everything.
When I lost my hair I embraced not having to shave or get haircuts. When chemotherapy robbed me of my palate I welcomed the opportunity to try new foods and flavor combinations. In a few weeks it will be time for surgery and I know it is going to knock me down. But when surgery knocks me down, I will get back up, come back stronger and dare cancer to try and push me down again.
I refuse to simply exist. Life is meant to be lived, that is my attitude.
...and attitude is everything.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Consults, Tests and the Waiting Game

If good things come to those who wait, I must have some good things coming my way.
It has been a couple of months now since I finished the originally scheduled course of chemotherapy, long enough that I can report that I once again have eyebrows, eyelashes, nose hair, facial hair as well as a lovely layer of soft fuzz growing on my head. So much for aerodynamics and being able to go for weeks without shaving. If my voice goes deeper I will officially call it puberty 2.0.
In the time since my last treatment I have been working hard to train and regain my fitness and endurance, it has been a mixed bag so far, cycling has been going better than running but I am consistently inconsistent at both. My efforts seem to be all over the place, the gains I feel like I make one day are gone the next and I am still nowhere close to my old form and rhythm. However, if my treatment schedule permits, I still intend to ride in the Livestrong Challenge. (Please use the link to help me support an organization that has been a great resource for myself and over 28 million others living with cancer. By following the link you can donate and/or sign up to participate in a great event and even join Team Dougan. Please also share the link with family, friends, co-workers, strangers...)
Ok, back on track, treatment schedule you say? Yes, I am waiting to find out the schedule for the next steps in my treatment plan. After a consult, some conference calls and a liver biopsy it has been determined that a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection, commonly referred to as RPLND is the next step in the process for me. It is now just a matter of it being scheduled, which is what I am waiting to hear back about. Ah, the waiting game, it still fails to get anymore fun, no matter how many times I play.