My cousin, Julie, is a breast cancer survivor. One of her tips was to find something that can keep you going. For her, with her children being in high school, she made it her goal to see them make it to being independent adults, and hopefully to becoming a grandmother.
I too, look forward to being a grandmother, when my children are ready. But my current determinate goal is to hike the PCT. This was my goal for ten years. I feared and did not want to see it end so early.
After my second round of chemo therapy, I really wanted to go one weekend for a 9-10 mile day hike. The night before I was feeling kind of punky and developed this cough. I used the excuse that it was probably too cold. But in my heart I felt so defeated that I didn’t feel I was up to it. I felt depressed.
That was the last time I let cancer get in my way. A week later I was feeling not so great but agreed to meet my friend Lyn for a beach walk. She pointed out that I didn’t need to be perky for her. I told her I had too much Irish stubbornness and refuse to let cancer ruin another day.
I recognize honestly this can’t be true of every day but that stubbornness comes in handy. Of course the weather helped too. Although it is almost always nice in Southern California I would not hike in 30 degree or rainy weather if I can help it. So when the opportunity came to go again two weekends ago, and the weather was good, I not only jumped on it but went the farthest I ever have in quite a while being treated – 16 miles. It felt wonderful!
The trail is certainly giving me a purpose, a determination, to keep going and to be strong. The trail lets me live with cancer, not cancer living me. Today, I sit through my fourth round of chemo, roughly, a five-hour long process. While Lynn and I sit here, we both have our minds on the trail, looking forward to getting back to it.
January 17, 2013
Links to the entire series about Patti’s battle with cancer listed below: