I must admit this is a challenging blog post to write. I have three posts ready to go and this first one I have been sitting on for weeks. Why? First, because many people will find out for the first time that I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2017. Not only am I currently diagnosed, I also had cancer eleven years ago. Second, this opens me up to a whole new round of pity parties. You know, the pitying look and the standard “I’m sorry”. Though I’m sure this response is meant to convey empathy, please refrain from this automatic response. It’s not helpful and I truly don’t understand why you are sorry as you did not cause this offense. The following are a few responses that are supportive and not intrusive:
- “I don’t know what to say.” This is a great response as people generally just don’t know what to say. And, that is ok. A life threatening disease is not something that one is generally equipped to deal with on a daily basis.
- “Sending you positive prayers/wishes/thoughts.” Whatever spirituality you connect with, I accept all positive vibes from all religions.
- “I am available to help you by (bringing meals, driving you to appointments etc).” Another excellent response that definitively provides an offer of assistance.
- “I would love to run with you. Let me know when.” For me, this of course is the best response since I am a runner. If you don’t run, an offer to walk with me is excellent as well. There may be times I can’t run and walking will provide a much needed boost. And, just because you are not located in Tucson doesn’t mean you can’t make this offer. Technology provides ways in which to connect digitally all the time.
I am challenging all that read this blog to think outside the “I’m sorry” box. Take a moment, reflect on who you are and how you show up in the world, and then offer your authentic response.
One of the first questions to my oncologist was will I be able to run? Any physician I went to, this question was always in the top five. In fact, I didn’t so much ask if I could run, I asked how will this diagnosis fit into my running. It wasn’t a question of not running but how to align the diagnosis and treatment with my passion.
I found it challenging to find other runners diagnosed with cancer to connect with for support. I needed to know other runners who went through cancer treatment and continued to run. I wanted to connect with runners that made it through to the other side of treatment intact, still running and maybe even stronger than before.
I’m creating this blog so that other runners diagnosed with cancer will know that running and combating cancer can be achieved. My hope is that I inspire runners to live up to their greatness while combating cancer. The days where you don’t feel like getting out of bed you dig deep, find your inner strength, connect with your courage, and choose to be unstoppable anyway. Conquering cancer isn’t easy. Through connection we will find possibility and the power to be resilient. We don’t have to let cancer run our lives, we choose to run cancer out of our lives. I am running fierce beyond cancer. Today is your day to find your fierce.
Do you know a runner diagnosed with cancer? Please share my blog. Let them know they are not alone in this journey. Together we are stronger and will find a way to run fiercely beyond cancer.
Stay tuned for next blog!
I look forward to running with you!