Days before the surgeons did their work on me, followed by the oncologists, I asked them the most fundamental question. “If I accept the treatment can I ever run a marathon distance again?” That was the sole determinant of my decision to continue, because if I lived to run a marathon I had a shot of resurrecting a life of value.
Yesterday was the final chapter of a true marathon that started 34 months ago. It was the last bit of a story that I will never relive. Even though the run was easy and I have conquered much harder trails, it was a formal redemption for my failure back in June. (See June blog post.) Consequently, it was indescribably important as an undeniable statement: No matter what the future holds, I beat the odds. I did this.
It is not that I am ungrateful for modern medicine. But I am not grateful to the medical industry for something it did not provide: A life.
Resurrecting a life means assigning yourself as your own hero. You will need help, but you have to be the master of your journey. You have to cling to what is left of your own essence, and from that add tiny pieces until you have built something authentic. Maybe in some ways it will be better. Therein lies the sweetness.