Stuart Scott of ESPN died of cancer of the appendix after battling it since 2007. I didn’t realize he was from my current hometown of Winston-Salem. I’ve been reading about him and I just love his attitude toward his cancer. Reading about him and his attitude toward his disease has really helped me, as I’ve been a bit frustrated lately and controlling my own attitude at times has been precarious.
Many people are all about exclaiming and celebrating that my chemo is over, and it’s difficult for me sometimes to join in because:
-I have been dealing with another abscess in a delicate place, which will likely eventually require a small surgery to ensure it is not recurring
-I am about to start preventative hormone therapy that will involve induced early menopause, lots of medical appointments for 5 years, and potentially a bunch of unpleasant side effects
-The side effects and cumulative toll of the chemo are still very much present and impacting me every day. And while I had been able to, remarkably, ride my horse quite well throughout this and even compete a little, well, the chemo has caught up with me. My stamina is greatly reduced, and I have had some very difficult rides lately where I get very tired or weak.
So, hearing all these, “yay, chemo is over” comments ring a little hollow and make me ever so slightly bitter because I want to be feeling better and moving on with life, but have been really feeling like I just keep stumbling over yet another thing from my cancer.
So it was good to read this from a speech Stuart gave: “When you die, that doesn’t mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and the manner in which you live. So live. Fight like hell, and when you get too tired to fight, lay down and rest and let someone else fight for you.”
Stuart was diagnosed in 2007 during an emergency appendectomy and apparently went through many, many treatment approaches. He was heavily involved in martial arts and said the workouts helped him.
According to The New York Times, “To stay in shape, he endured exhausting mixed-martial-arts and cross-training workouts, sometimes right after chemotherapy treatments.”
“‘For the mind, it’s better than any chemo,’ Scott told ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ early in 2014. ‘It’s better than any medicine.'”
And so, I am tired and basically bleeding from my bottom and I have a slew of medical appointments coming up. I can barely jump a full course of jumps on my horse, and have pretty much decided to delay my plans to return to competition for at least a month. But it’s true, I’m on the mend and nothing else I am facing should be as much of a nightmare as the chemo was.
So I will keep taking my traditional medicinal treatments, and even when I’m tired or when my stamina is just plain gone for the day, I will keep getting on the horse (ha!). Because nothing lifts my spirit more than this amazing animal. It’s unreal, and I’m so grateful for him.
More about Stuart Scott here.
And my sweet Lucky Alex bundled against the rain the other day.
Update: a comment from a friend who also recently completed chemo for breast cancer: “I, too, had fooled myself in to thinking that I would be skipping out of chemo back to my pre-cancer life. It is hard to explain the joint pain and fatigue.”