I wrote a fabulous guest post on Crazy Good Parent!! Please go check it out here.
Thanks so much to Janice for allowing me to share my story about how cancer, yoga, and impending parenthood are all intertwined for me.
I wrote a fabulous guest post on Crazy Good Parent!! Please go check it out here.
Thanks so much to Janice for allowing me to share my story about how cancer, yoga, and impending parenthood are all intertwined for me.
I’m feeling all the feelings, you guys.
I had a mommy friend ask me if I wanted advice. She had written a list of things she wished she had known before giving birth. I said yes, and I read it.
Then I cried.
This thing really has to come out of me. And it’s going to hurt. Like, a lot. Breastfeeding might be hard. And painful. Projectile poop really does exist. All this responsibility…
Even though I’m the type of person who always wants to know all the good and the bad stuff, it was still pretty overwhelming.
I asked myself, how am I going to handle all this?
That voice inside me shrugged and said, one day at a time.
I’m also having some feelings around body image.
My body hasn’t changed much throughout my life, with the exception of cancer and the resulting surgery. This week marks the highest weight I have ever been. I knew it was coming, of course, and I know it’s healthy and it’s supposed to happen. And I’m cool with it; it means that Little Duck is growing and my body is growing with fe. At the same time, I felt a pang when I saw the number on the scale. I’ve never been one to weigh myself, like ever, because I’ve never seen the point. But with the pregnancy, I’ve wanted to track my changes and so I’ve been weighing myself once a week.
It’s not just the number on the scale, but a combination of that plus how I look and how I feel. I’ve always been fairly petite, and sometimes it’s tough for me to see my waistline disappear. Honestly, it depends on the day. When I first started showing, I was so happy and excited. This is real! Look at me, how cute I look! I feel so special! And sometimes, a lot of the time, I still feel like that. But on the days when I feel achy and bloated, I wonder how big I’m going to get. Where is my limit? What will my body do? It’s the not knowing that can be unsettling.
What I’ve concluded is that my body is changing faster than my thoughts and emotions can catch up. And I have to keep telling myself what I already know to be true – that my body knows what it’s doing. Trust it.
Even when cancer invaded my body and I felt like it [my body] had betrayed me, it still let me know what was going on. And when I stop to think about my progress during this pregnancy so far, I realize that my body has done all the work unaided. All the medical procedures I’ve had have been purely for screening purposes. Of course, if my body needs medical help along the way, that’s all well and good, but overall, my body’s in charge. And she knows what she’s doing.
Lastly, I’ve been feeling all pent up. I really need a project (besides growing life) and what I’d really like to be doing is decorating and organizing a house, but we’re just not there yet. Not only are we not there, but we’re crammed into a one bedroom apartment with boxes stacked everywhere. I feel closed in, it feels cluttered in here, and I have no idea how we’re going to fit a baby in here, let alone all the baby crap.
I know this situation is only temporary, and our next move, if it’s not a house, will definitely be someplace bigger and quieter. We’ll only have to have the baby here for one month max, if at all.
It also doesn’t help that I am not currently working, or otherwise have something to do with my time. I’ve been looking for work half-assedly, mostly because, while I do want to be productive and useful, I don’t want the added stress of having to learn a new job, and I certainly don’t want to have to sell my soul to any job – and that’s even if anyone offers this 5 month pregnant lady a position in the first place.
I hate how the American work force – and the social service professions specifically – expect you to bend over backwords just to work. The job openings I’ve seen aren’t only full time, but the descriptions are peppered with lines like: must be able to work evenings and Saturdays, shifts subject to change with little notice, must be able to drive to multiple locations, may be exposed to clients with violent tendencies, must give up first born child to Satan, etc. I’d be hesitant to take jobs like this even if I wasn’t pregnant, and forget it now. I’m not even sure I’d want to keep a full time job after I have the baby, anyway, so that adds to my lack of enthusiasm. Don’t employers want healthy, happy, well-rounded workers who have lives outside of work? Sheesh. Jobs are just jobs, and I want one that I don’t have to be married to.
That said, I do feel incredibly fortunate that I am being supported by my husband right now. I have the privilege of having the choice to work or not, and for that I am very thankful. I also feel a bit guilty about not contributing financially to the household, and a part of me really does want to get out there and do the profession I love, but Brian totally understands my priorities and he’s supportive. I’ll keep looking for work, and if I find something that fits our needs, then awesome. If not, we’ll adjust and get by together.
So. It seems as though my theme for the moment is transition.
But, now that I think about it, am I ever really not transitioning?
I’ve never been excited to go to the doctor before, and it’s a very welcome change. Before, my yearly exams were preceded by dread and anxiety, hoping that I didn’t get any bad news. And then I’d always have relief afterwards that would last for most of the year…rinse and repeat.
But now…everything’s different. I couldn’t wait to get back there and get more information about my little developing fetus. Not only that, but I’ve never had a partner to experience these medical procedures with me before. Having Brian there with me is incredibly comforting and a fun bonding experience. For instance, I’ve had tons of ultrasounds and blood draws and pelvic exams, but Brian’s never seen any of that. He’s never had the opportunity to really know what it’s like, to be able to support me and distract me and joke with me and celebrate with me. I guess I never realized just how lonely it was walking through my cancer checkups by myself until my whole medical experience was turned upside down.
First up for this appointment – a blood draw. Ug. I asked Brian to come in with me, for all the above reasons and because why not? I mean, he did this to me, so he might as well feel my pain vicariously.
Fortunately, I got the same lovely phlebotomist I had had for my previous blood draws. She recognized me, and I could tell she was trying to place me. When we got into the room, she said, “Now I feel like you were…different somehow…?” And I reminded her about the horror we shared during my last blood draw, where she ran into scar tissue from all my previous blood draws and had to stick me three times. Together, we figured out that it’s best when she uses the kid-sized needle on my dainty little scar-riddled veins, and then I get juice and Goldfish crackers afterwards and everyone’s happy.
Thankfully, this blood draw went perfectly with one clean stick. Boo-yah.
As Brian and I sat in the waiting room, sharing our celebratory juice and crackers and getting jealous looks from the two year old across the way, I couldn’t help but wonder if she treated all her patients that way, or if she babied me as the only adult who got the kid snacks. Then I realized I didn’t care because yum.
Then we got to go see the midwife and we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. I think that strong little whoosh, whoosh sound is one of the most amazing sounds in the whole world. Incredible.
She asked if we had any questions or concerns, and just like I thought, the responses were all, yup, that’s normal, nothing we can do, just gotta power through it.
Then she felt my uterus, and everything felt good. I like having more information about my body, so I asked her to show me how to find it on my own. So start down here, and work your way up…oop, and there’s your full bladder, so your uterus is….here, off to the side because of all that pee.
The phlebotomist gave me juice, what do you expect?! But thanks for the extra info, really. At least we’re all friends here.
In conclusion, it was a successful and fun week 16 checkup! Thankfully, I got to pee again before we left. And by ‘got to,’ I mean I insisted on it.
I’m looking forward to the next one when we get to have the big 20 week ultrasound. Squee!
Eleven years ago today, I had my cancer surgery.
Today’s anniversary feels very different from the rest, in a good way.
Is it because the farther away I get from it, the less it hurts? Partially.
It mostly has to do with the fact that I’m pregnant. The cloud of fear and uncertainty that has been lurking for so long has mostly lifted, and it feels wonderful. I feel like I can more fully leave my cancer behind, stop worrying about what my body can’t do, and look forward to what my body can do, what it is doing, and what that means for my future and the future of my family. I am so blessed, and I just didn’t know how much until recently.
I say the cloud has ‘mostly lifted’ because I do find myself still worrying about how after-effects of my cancer and surgery could affect my pregnancy. I suppose there’s a part of me that feels like this is too good to be true and that I shouldn’t get my hopes up, that my cancer could still rear up and kick me in the ass. I suppose it’s normal that a small amount of fear like that will never go away. And sometimes it’s hard for me to balance these continued fears and still make ample room for the joy and excitement I know that I also deserve to experience. It does help that my doctor doesn’t seem too concerned about affects from surgery affecting my pregnancy.
Overall, my worries have definitely shifted, and I am grateful for the direction in which they have shifted. After acknowledging my ever-present cancer worries and then placing them back in their box at the back of my mind, I get to worry about “normal” things now – am I taking good enough care of myself? Is the baby developing ok? Will delivery go ok? Will fe be healthy? How the heck am I going to manage to be a good parent? Etc…
I am thankful for these worries. They mean I have something amazingly wonderful to worry about.
Which reminds me about something I’ve said before – that my experience with cancer and the resulting fertility uncertainty means that I get to be even more joyful than I would have been otherwise.
Eleven years ago I experienced one of the worst days of my life, and that’s ok. It doesn’t define me, and I have allowed it to change me for the better.
Now get back in your box. You’re distracting me from my joy.
Alright, Psychos. It’s about to get a little crazier up in here.
I can barely believe it myself, but…I’m going to be a mother.
Even typing those words and then reading them back to myself was weird. A mom?! ME?!
I am incredibly thankful and blessed and in awe that my body is able to sustain a pregnancy, especially considering my medical history. When we first found out, I wanted to call up my surgeon from 11 years ago to thank him for what an amazing job he did. Not only did he make me healthy again, but he left my bits and pieces intact and working! The Little Ovary That Could. It’s because of my cancer history that I am especially not taking this for granted…except for the fact that this is all still very hard to believe for me.
I’ve pretty much always known I’ve wanted to be a mom. I kind of grew up knowing it without really realizing it, and it wasn’t until that dream was threatened that I realized how desperately I wanted it.
For the past 11 years since my surgery and the prognosis from my doctors being, and I quote, “We can’t promise anything,” I’ve stared longingly at babies in the grocery store, making faces at them as they gaze at me over their parent’s shoulder. I slowed to gawk at maternity store display windows, only to be pulled along past, wondering if I’d ever get to shop there.
We started trying for a baby quite soon after getting married because we knew we wanted to be parents and we anticipated having fertility issues. We wanted to try and not get our hopes up so that we could start fertility treatments as soon as we needed to/could because we’re not getting any younger and I was told to expect to start menopause early and my egg count was cut in half and holy crap was any of this going to work?!
Imagine our surprise and complete shock when three months in, it worked! We couldn’t believe it. I’m actually tearing up just remembering the moment. First there was pure joy (OH MY GOD!!!), then disbelief (oh…my…god…), and then sheer terror (omg…what have we done?!). Brian had just accepted a kickass new job in Oregon, and we had signed a 9 month lease on a tiny apartment, to begin in January. Doing that math means that we might have to squeeze a baby in amongst our boxes of wedding gifts we still haven’t opened. Maybe fe can sleep in the salad bowl, or perhaps the new mixer. Plus, I had just quit my job and didn’t have another lined up, and I’d need to figure out how to get relicensed in Oregon, effectively increasing our expenses while decreasing our income. Our sense of timing is just peachy sometimes. Of course, I know this will all work out in one way or another, it’s just tough standing at the bottom of a mountain and not knowing how the hell you’re going to climb to the top.
Another huge stressor for me/us was getting mysteriously dropped from Brian’s health insurance, having our coverage expire at the end of the year, and then having to scramble to get new coverage since his new job’s coverage won’t kick in until after a 90 day probationary period. Those few weeks were incredibly depressing for me, as I was unable to see a doctor to even confirm the pregnancy, let alone reassure me that everything was going well. Pair this with my relatively mild first trimester symptoms (meaning that I could hardly believe that I was actually, indeed pregnant), and I just felt like a tired, depressed wreck who cried on the phone to health insurance companies after being put on hold for 45 minutes or more.
I am happy to report that we slogged through our first month in Oregon fairly well, all considering. We now have health insurance, we had our first ultrasound, and holy crap there’s a somersaulting little guppy in there! I’m even starting to show a tiny bit, and I’m pretty sure it’s not just gas.
In conclusion, we’re still pretty shell-shocked.
We’re excited and terrified. We’re excified!
All of the above.
I hate running.
I hate it with the fire of a thousand suns.
In high school, when we had to start running on the regular for gym class, I wondered what I had done wrong to deserve such punishment. Surely they couldn’t make us do this?! And then I looked around, and I found that some of my friends actually liked it. They were competitive. They were fast. They were nuts.
I will never understand those people.
Fast forward to now, where for the past 2-3 years, I have actually started working out with some regularity, not counting getting into yoga after my cancer surgery in 2003. I started doing yoga a few weeks after surgery when it was a struggle to get up from a sitting position, and now I’d say I am at least at an intermediate level. I’m pretty proud about some of the kickass poses I can do.
So, 2-3 years ago I added in some elliptical stuff. Basically, I re-watch episodes of 30 Rock while I fake run on a very loud machine in my tiny apartment complex exercise room. Now that my calves are pretty buff, I wanted to switch things up a little bit and try some…running.
Now, I’ve actually tried to run in the past, but it basically turns into what I like to call a walkjog. I just don’t have the physical stamina for any sustained motion that propels me forward with any speed. Also, being the true artist that I am, what’s my motivation for this torture? It’s almost like I’d need something chasing me.
And with that, enter Brian, my husband-to-be, who is always motivating me to better myself and always has my well-being in mind (and only chases me in the romantic sense):
B: What are you going to do when the zombies get here?
Me: Well, if they are slow zombies, I’ll sprint past them and jam the close ones through the eye socket.
B: First, you can’t handle bodily fluids. How will you manage to ‘jam the close ones’ accurately enough and with enough force? Second, what if they are 28 Days Later zombies?
Me: First, you’re right. Bloody noses make me gag, and forget about mucous. I will use my samurai swords and just decapitate ‘em like Michonne, because she’s badass and had the right idea from the start. Second, fuuuuuuck.
B: Exactly. Let’s start running.
But I can’t just run, and I certainly can’t just run with Brian. We’ve tried this before, where he’s motivating me by saying all these sweet things as we’re running side by side, but all it does it make me giggle, and I have a bad habit of giggling when I run…and then I can’t stop giggling, which means I have to stop running. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I am a 5 year old. And if I ever have children, I don’t know how I’ll be able to keep them alive (especially since kids bleed out so fast), but that’s another blog post altogether.
The answer was clear: the app called Zombies, Run!
It sounded perfect. You’re a runner, a gopher in this post-apocalyptic world where people with British accents tell you when to run to evade a zombie mob. If you’re lucky enough to survive the mission, you pick up stuff along the way and bring it back to base.
This was it. This was my motivation. Plus, I could never disobey someone with a British accent.
Last Thursday, Brian and I gave this app a try. We keyed up the first mission and started power walking down the street. It was still a bit light out, but the sun would go down soon. British man and lady were describing our surroundings and I was told I found and picked up some water. And then – I could hear them. The Brits could see the mob closing in on me and told me to run…I looked at Brian and he nodded to me as I felt an adrenaline surge and picked up the pace. They were 50 meters away, their breathing heavy, low moaning. Then 20 meters away. Fuck, this was scary! I swear I could feel their ragged breath on the back of my neck. And then -
Zombie mob evaded. Good job Runner 5!
Sweetness! This was actually kinda fun!
B: Jesus, Lady! I’ve never seen you take off like that!
Me: Well, they were going to GET ME!
And so on the mission went…we had to pass the old hospital, hoping to find supplies and rejoin Runner 7. In real life, we had turned between two ag fields and were running between two rows of olive trees…it was much darker now.
Suddenly, the Brits could see Runner 7! She was running to catch up with us…only she was different. Oh shit, she’s a zombie and there’s more behind her, RUN!
So we do it again. Remember when I said I lack stamina? I was already pretty wiped at this point, but I gave it my all. Seriously, I ran even after I didn’t think I could run anymore. And this time, I was seriously freaked out because Brian had run ahead, I couldn’t see him anymore, and I could hear and feel these monsters getting closer and closer…
And I became Zombie Runner 7’s nighttime snack. I was so pissed I nearly collapsed in the dirt.
Fast forward to the day after, and I could barely walk. Seriously, my legs would painfully cramp up if I transferred any weight to my toes. Had this really been the zombie apocalypse, I would have died on Day 2. Or Brian would have carried me, because that’s what husbands-to-be do in dystopias.
So I won’t give up; I plan to run more missions, because damn, it’s motivating!
Why don’t I ever see them stop to stretch on The Walking Dead?!
I’m going to talk to you today about ultrasounds.
They are weird. They are uncomfortable. Sometimes, they are hilarious.
I’ve had roughly 20 ultrasounds over the years (about 19 of which were cancer-related, and one was to check for a blood clot in my leg after it swelled to the size of one of those GMO turkey legs at the state faire). Each experience was like the first time you let a monkey kiss you on the mouth – a little bit different and a whole lot weird.
I’ve had two kinds of ultrasounds – the kind where my abdomen is made into a slip-n-slide for hairless mice, and the kind where my vag is made into a fleshy joystick that feels like the total opposite of joy.
Recently, I had what may turn out to be my last cancer-related ultrasound…ever (which is both exciting and scary).
First, the nurselady led me from the waiting room into a more private one-person waiting room and told me not to get undressed. Under no circumstances was I to remove clothing. I sensed that at some point she must have experienced an embarrassing misunderstanding with a newbie patient. Don’t worry, lady, this is old hat.
I picked up a very tattered Ladies Home Journal and tried to calm my nerves. Even though I totally know the drill by now, I always get white coat syndrome on account of the dreaded c-word. Oh yeah, that, and my bladder was so fucking full that I could taste the pee in the back of my throat. Long ago I learned that if I actually drink the 304,786 oz of water they tell me to drink before my appointment, I end up having to swerve off the freeway halfway there and run into a gas station bathroom before urine drips down my legs and soaks my socks. All I have to do is drink the milk from my morning cereal and rinse my mouth out after brushing my teeth, and my percolator fills up that peesack like clockwork, no worries.
So I get called into the actual exam room where the undressing action happens. Usually, I get a student tech and ve’s supervisor asking if it’s ok if a student pokes around in my nethers. I support the sciences, so I usually shrug and tell them they can enter at their own risk. This time, however, I guess I got a real tech because she was all I got. Either that, or she was a student tech gone rogue. I decided to take my chances.
Next step is that I undress from the waist down for that first kind of ultrasound (bring out the hairless mice!). A tip to all you first-timers out there: make sure the towel they give you is fully tucked into your underwear unless you want to walk around all day with goo-covered chonies. That tech ain’t watching where they are putting that paddle, and that goo gets frickin everywhere. And it’s not even the good kind of goo you want up in there, anyway, so tuck it.
First good sign: this tech warmed up the goo! She’s a pro, this one. I lie back and enjoy the warm, sticky sensation as I watch the white snow on the monitor and wait patiently for Samara to emerge.
This whole process, if you sit and think about it for a quick sec, is pretty magical. A stranger wields a wand, adds some primordial goo, and – Expecto Patronum! – they can see inside your body, your innermost secrets. They can see the absence of a second ovary (if I get a particularly naive tech, or a tech who obviously hasn’t read my chart, sometimes I’ll fuck with ‘em: What?! You can’t find my left ovary?!! WELL YOU HAD BETTER FIND IT!), they can see my scar tissue, and they can also see that my bladder is rapidly filling up and about to burst like Liz Lemon after sandwich day. Talk about embarrassing.
I usually try to position myself so I can see the screen. I’ve seen my ladyparts onscreen so many times that I fancy myself a real radiology tech – and by “real,” I mean that I point at blobs on the screen and ask, “Ooh, is that a spidermonkey?!”
A good tech will narrate the procedure for me: “…aaaand here we have your uterus, lookin’ good….and then we slide over here….and there’s your cute little ovary!” A bad tech doesn’t say anything and just makes weird facial features at the screen as she pauses and measures the blobs.
This tech was a bad one (the warmed-up goo was just a ruse)….and she was freaking me the fuck out. At one point her eyebrows raised and then lowered and furrowed. I couldn’t stay silent. “What!? What did you see?”
She looked at me with a smile.
“Well, I found your ovary!”
“…and it looks like an otter!”
It looks like a what now?!
“Oh, you know, it’s like finding shapes in the clouds with this thing, here look…”
And she points.
Funny enough, I could actually see it, right there, flippers and all. Weird.
We had a little moment, Madam Ovary and I. I waved.
I never really know what to expect at these appointments…
I became aware of the horribly bright fluorescent lights as I regained consciousness. I saw my dad first – a blurry version of my dad. I looked past him to the clock on the wall. 9pm and change. Wait, could that be right? They took me in at 2-something…that’s way too long.
“Is that clock right?”
“Was it benign?”
“Can I still have babies?”
These were the three questions I remember asking immediately upon waking up. I also remember my dad giving me an affirmative answer to each one- which shouldn’t have made sense.
Before going in for surgery, I was told that if my tumor was benign, the procedure would take about an hour or 90 minutes. If they found cancer or if there were complications – longer. I had been out for over 7 hours.
Upon hearing the answers I wanted to hear, I started to take stock of how I physically felt. My body didn’t feel like my own. I felt broken. My midsection felt like it had been run over by a semi truck. A nurse suddenly appeared at my side and shoved a button in my hand. She told me to push the button when I felt pain. I pushed it right away and kept pushing it every time I remembered to, which felt like long intervals since I kept drifting in and out of consciousness. I was later told that I pushed that damn thing every 2 minutes or so. No amount of pushing that button could have taken the pain away.
I felt so numb. Blindingly so. After my parents left the room, my boyfriend at the time was allowed to stay. At one point I looked up at him and it looked like he was crying. I asked him if he was and I honestly don’t remember his answer. I just wanted to go back to sleep. I wanted to wake up once it was all over.
I pushed the button.
The next morning my surgeon came to see me. He told me that they found some borderline malignant tumors. Malignant. Plural. With an ‘s.’ This information barely registered. It had completely engulfed my left ovary but I got to keep my right one.
Say again, please?
But my dad said…
…do I have to do radiation? Chemo?
No. Those treatments won’t work on your kind of tumors. Besides, we think we got them all, and now we just wait and see.
WAIT AND SEE?! My brain was screaming but my face stayed blank.
Apparently now my job was just to focus on getting better.
Let me get this straight. You rip me open, take out pieces of me, then run me over with a truck and tell me medicine won’t work for me, and now it’s my job to get better? I thought that was yours. You broke me. Now someone put me back together.
I pushed the button again and everything got blurry.
That was exactly 10 years ago today. I just sat down to write and this just kinda came out, wasn’t really planned. It feels good to write about this, so bear with me because y’all might see more of these.
In other news, I turned 30 yesterday and I think I felt all the feelings. All of them. I got drunk on wine with friends and we went bowling. The best part- costumes were required. I brought back the 80s like it was my job. In preparation, I plugged in my crimping iron that I hadn’t used since the 90s, and it promptly began to smoke. Once the putrid smell of burning plastic subsided and got me sufficiently high, I used it on my hair and the results were hecka rad. I even unearthed my old slap bracelets and those plastic thingies one used to clip the bottom of one’s oversized shirt off to the side. Mini skirt, tights, leg warmers, oh my!
I suppose after all this I should post some pictures. Stay tuned, my little psychos.
It’s been so long since my last post, that I really feel like I just need to post something for the sake of posting. I’ve started to compose posts in my head only to have them fade from memory after a few hours.
The truth is, I haven’t been feeling the best. I’ve been moody, I’ve had less energy than usual, I’ve been stressed. I’ve had some extra responsibilities at work that I don’t normally have. January was a very busy month in terms of wedding planning – a lot of appointments, some of which were fun, but they all take time away from normal routine and activities. And…I am turning 30 this Sunday and then on Monday is my 10 year cancer-free anniversary.
I should feel happy, right? I have tons to feel happy about. I have a job that I like. I am planning a wedding. I have my health. But I really just want to get in bed and pull the covers over my head.
The worst part for me, as a therapist, is that I don’t fully understand these mood swings. I am a person who needs to know why, and I’ll ruminate until I figure it out or go crazy, whichever comes first (usually the latter).
But I totally get that I can sit in front of a client and understand what’s going on with ve. It’s a hell of a lot harder to see with the same perspective into one’s self.
And maybe I don’t really need to know why, even though I have some good ideas.
I’m getting married, which means I am looking forward to starting a family. After getting rid of the cancer issue, the lingering unknown was my fertility status. I don’t have the luxury of getting to assume I’ll be able to have kids when the time comes. Of course I don’t want to freak out until I have to, but the possibility of infertility saddens me probably more than anything in my entire life.
Needless to say, I feel extremely fragile and vulnerable right now and I am trying not to let my rapidly shifting emotions get in the way of me celebrating my birthday (which I hate is so close to Valentine’s Day, btw…impossible to get dinner reservations for an event that is far more important than a naked baby playing with sharp objects).
And now I’m off in search of some donuts.
Thanks for listening, bloggyworld.
I don’t expect people to be perfect, especially celebrities, but Lance Armstrong is now officially an asshole in my mind. Officially.
I follow football casually, I don’t pretend to follow baseball, and I actually watch Le Tour when I have the chance; I’ve even seen the Tour of California whizz past a few times.
I haven’t been shocked or upset when athletes have been accused or admitted to doping. I mean, come on, Mark McGuire wasn’t fooling anybody. I can still picture his Got Milk ad on my friend’s wall in high school with biceps bigger than my waist.
So maybe my hurt and anger stems from the fact that Lance really meant (means?) something to me in many ways. First, my partner Brian was a cyclist in college and he got me interested in watching the sport. In 2005, we watched the Tour de France in a bar as we celebrated our second anniversary together. I watched Lance win most of his seven TDF titles. He was amazing, and he seemed unstoppable.
More importantly, Lance is an inspiration for cancer patients and survivors all over the world, including me. I heard his story about having testicular cancer and his incredible recovery and it energized me. Hell, this guy is my gonad soulmate and I just knew we were meant to make sweet, sweet post-cancer babies with what remained of our reproductive systems. I wore his yellow Livestrong bracelet in college and I still carry it with me everywhere I go on my keychain.
Again and again Brian and I heard about Lance passing blood test after blood test. People were always hounding him, saying his success was too good to be true, and his answers were always consistent. I believed in this guy, and I believed in what he stood for. I think what makes me the most upset is not that he doped, but that he lied about it. And he lied about it for SO LONG. Even after his teammates started being exposed or coming clean, I thought I could count on Lance. Shame on you.
I still have the yellow bracelet on my keychain, but I don’t think our gonads will be getting together any time soon.