Monday, October 11, 2010

The DC 3-Day Experience: Choosing Life

As I sit here on Day 4 of the DC 3-Day, I am overwhelmed by this past weekend.  The enormity of it is astounding.  Over 2000 walkers and 350 volunteer crew members participated, and over $5.3 million was raised just by the DC event alone.  How will I begin to capture all that happened in the pages of this blog?

For me, the weekend was all about choosing life.  "Choosing", as in, making a conscious, active decision and sticking with it.  Not letting things happen to you, but making things happen for yourself.  Not being a victim, but accepting the circumstance with grace, and finding the good in even the worst situation.

I saw women with gaunt faces and bandana-covered bald heads pushing themselves forward with determination to complete another leg in the journey, this walk a metaphor for the day-to-day, step-by-step battles they are facing at home with their disease.

I was moved to tears as I was being passed by women who were chatting with each other in such a matter-of-fact way about how they manage to keep the family rhythms moving along even as they make it to all their oncology and chemo appointments.  I know what a busy family calendar looks like.  How in the world do you manage any semblance of family life while you're trying to save your own life?  These women knew, all too well.

I loved talking to survivors on this walk.  One women was wearing a pin that said "20 year survivor".  But when I got further into the conversation, I learned that she's actually a 21 year survivor, and a 13 year survivor, and a 4 year survivor, because she has been diagnosed not once, but three times.  And she has been here walking, year after year, to show that she might have cancer, but cancer doesn't have her.

One of my favorite memories from the weekend is from the Saturday night dance party in camp.  My team mates might wonder why I say that, since I didn't really participate in the dancing so much as I sat in my chair and watched everyone else dance.  But the thing I loved the most about it was watching my friend, Nancy, and her sister and our other team mates get up there.  It was just one big celebration.  A celebration of life.  Of surviving - surviving the day's walk, surviving this stinking cancer.  It was letting go of everything negative, just enjoying the moment, enjoying the music, enjoying each other's company and laughter.

Everyone told me that this would be a life-changing event, and as I went through the weekend, it became more and more true for me.  This was a really inspirational weekend, in many ways.  I'll try to limit the syrup-y goopy drama in my future posts, but for now, this is my current state of mind and state of heart, so this is what I'm writing.  

Life is good.  Choose it!

No comments:

Post a Comment