Friday, August 18, 2006

Cancer and Inspiration

I often wonder now if folks with cancer get fatigued of being an inspiration for the rest of the population. It must be tiring, and what a thing to live up to while trying to restore your health and deal with the side effects of treatment.

A few months ago, I mentioned a friend that was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. First came surgery to remove the localized tumor. Now Bee is four treatments into a six treatment course of chemotherapy. The treatments are several weeks apart and it takes about two weeks to recover from the effects of the chemo. Week three, Bee is finally able to get back to her normal activities of kayaking, running, and biking, only to go through another round of chemo. When the chemotherapy is complete, she will start rounds of radiation therapy.

Yesterday, we met for a 24 mile bike ride. Starting from North Raleigh, we wound through country roads until the route ended at Falls Lake. On the way there, we decided this route was like riding to the end of the world. Coupled with the shade of overhanging pines, the cool late summer air, and the sunset, Bee said it was 'perfect'. I am proud and honored to have been a part of that perfect moment.

I found out she had already run four miles that morning before leaving the house for her clinical rotations as a Nurse Anesthesia Masters Degree candidate. This weekend we are headed to the mountains for two days of white water kayaking. Monday she has chemotherapy treatment number five and the cycle begins again.

Let me remind you, she has cancer.

I can't help it, Bee. You just keep doing what you do. I will sit here quietly, and I will be inspired.

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