These words were spoken to me in reply to a barrage of questions I posed during my very first visit with my new medical oncologist in May 2009. I had been referred to him by my surgeon after a 17 month remission, as it was clear that I was in the throws of my first recurrence and would need a chemo specialist. The words were pointedly meant for me to rearrange my attitude and to leave him to figure out the medicine.
Those words are echoing in my head these days. A marathon - 42.195 kilometres or 26.22 miles or in my case, four years, 7 months and 3 days.
In the OvCa marathon, staying in the game is no different than training for Boston. Once you're through surgery, it's about nutrition, mindset, chemo endurance and plenty of physical and psychological coaching. We both become imbalanced, exhausted and hit the wall. We both feel the agony of defeat - if not from CA125 psychosis - then from the "elites*" whose name underlines the fact that you didn't stand a chance to win to begin with. And it wasn't about winning anyway.
I'm extremely proud to say that my brother-in-law - our webmaster's husband, John - will be wearing bib number 13147 in Monday's 2012 Boston Marathon. John has been on a journey culminating in this event for years. Other than the day he married my beloved sister, it is probably one of the highlights of his life. The barriers to entry were high - not having been a life-long runner - but having enough drive, motivation and focus - to put it on his "over 50" bucket list. I wish John's father had lived to see this day - maybe he'll be there at the finish line. His mother won't ask how it went - she who couldn't think of a second name for her second son.
Well, we care lots. We, who upon discovering that he didn't have a second name, christened him John Elton - after his favourite singer/performer - we care that he runs his heart out - that he feels the rush of the hundreds of thousands of spectators cheering him on - that amongst that throng of voices he'll hear ours sending him wings under his feet - that he feels the thrill of achievement and sweet victory when he finally crosses the finish line.
It's interesting to reflect on the the doctor's cliche manifesting itself in real time in our family. Life is a beautiful metaphor.
GO JOHN ELTON GO!!!
*elites = world class, high performance, highest speed/lowest time runners