Thursday, July 2, 2009
It is now more than two months since the end of the ride. Closing in on July 4th. Closing in on July 8th, the date for my talk in Washington. I'll be the closing speaker at the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance's annual conference. I spoke in February, just before the ride and had two minutes on the program. This time I get twenty.
I feel that the time I've been given is precious. People's time is precious. I have a brief window in which to say something that might stick with these listeners.
While I did my ride, my jaunt across the United States, one friend got diagnosed with and had surgery for breast cancer. One friend underwent chemotherapy for lymphoma. One little new friend had a bone marrow transplant. And now, back from the ride, I have another new friend who is trying to figure out what she has. It's something big but they don't know quite yet what it will turn out to be.
I'm sick of hearing about cancer. I'm sick of this being the focus, of so many people having it, of it becoming almost normal to hear about the next one who got something that is, yes, cancer.
I think about how hard my ride felt while I was on it and it seems like nothing compared to these stories of sickness and struggle and who-knows-if-they-are-going-to-make-it tales. I drew on these folks when I was having a hard day. But at the end of a hard day, I took a shower, ate something, and went to bed. These friends don't have that luxury.
So on the fourth I'll get in my car and drive to Washington to get ready to talk to some people I met on the ride and some people who I've never met. I'll speak in front of people who followed this blog and to people who don't know how to use a computer. I'll see if my comments make sense to the folks who are listening. I hope they are not too tired. And I hope that I make sense. I hope what I say matters. I hope it does.
And then I'll drive home and keep going. Onward. The journey did not finish in St. Augustine. In many ways it has just started.
I'll let you know how it went when it is over.
Thanks for being with me on this whole trip. It has been quite a trip, all in all.