Sometime next week the University of Oregon (Ducks!) football team (my hometown) will play some other team for the National Title. Obviously a very important game for those who follow football. I am not really into sports but I am curious what the coaches will be saying in the locker rooms!
From my experience with Cancer I doubt they will talk much about the opposing team. In a game like this you want to concentrate on your strengths, not theirs. You would never say that we are up against the best
or they were stronger or faster, frankly I don't think you would even name them. You would emphasize the games you have won in the past and think this is just one more. It is your strength and speed that would be talked about.\
I think the battle with Cancer is much the same and, for me, this battle with neuropathy and the collateral damage of chemo-therapy. Oh, I take my pills and wear my gloves like shoulder pads and listen to my voodoo coach but from that moment on it becomes my game and I do what has worked in the past. I do my best and concentrate on my strengths. I would never put the focus on the cancer or give it any kind of strength. That would be conceding the game before you even started.
I am not one of the people who can simply turn all this over to God. I find that an abdication of responsibility. He has given me life and strengths and love and laughter, intelligence and and a million abilities. Now is not a good time to ask for more, just, please to give me the strength to use what I have been given. I am not in training, that is all in the past and today is "game day."
I always awaken with feet I cannot feel and hands that have been busiliy stirring cut glass all night long but I will give them no encouragement, no rally squads, no cheering, not a thought. They are the enemy and I will give them no ground.
I am a list maker and always do this as if it were going to be a bright sun filled day. I concentrate on what I need to do to get through the day and what I want to do to inspire me. These are not two lists with one maybe to be thrown away. One list with always inspiration included. I will always put art on this list. It could be welding or writing or cooking or my garden but always it is there, even if in tiny segments. It is important to win this game but it is also important to enjoy it. You never know the outcome of a hurdle, there may be another play.
I pray for strength, to understand all this and for acceptance. I might get hurt, some players are carried off the field but that doesn't stop them and it won't stop me. This might not even be the final game. I don't know the scorecard.
To continue my football analogy, don't forget half-time and time-outs. Never think about what your opponent is doing. Rest and regain your strength. Find support where you can. It is a team effort and there is help and guidence everywhere and people are rooting for you! We want you to win! We want to see that banner that says "Champ". It is a really big game and we need to win it.
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