In any long journey, transitions matter. Back in August last year, I wrote about the importance of transitions – transitions help mark our waypoints along the journey, but they also give us something to celebrate. A sense that something is finished a new thing is beginning. A way to start things anew.
Shortly after writing the post Transition Matter, I signed up to do the San Francisco Avon Walk. I had planned on the Avon Walk as being a major transition in my cancer journey. It was to represent the completion of treatment and the journey into living beyond breast cancer. In many ways, a bridging ceremony.
Little did I know just how far down breast cancer treatment would bring me, and how long it would take for me to climb back out of it. The Avon Walk has helped give me a focal point for my exercise. It has helped to inspire me to walk further and longer than I otherwise would have. It is encouraging me to push myself. That is a good thing.
I no longer see the Avon Walk as a major transition. This is in part because I do not see myself mysteriously getting better just by walking through the arches at the end of the walk. I know that I still have a long way to go. But I am encouraged. Four weeks ago I thought I’d be lucky to walk 4-miles. I did a 6.2 mile training walk yesterday. There is hope yet that I’ll be able to walk a large portion of it – even if it isn’t the entire 39, it is quite significant. I’m come a long way and that is worth celebrating.
Today I also signed us up for the Peak Hike. The Peak Hike was the last big walk/hike I did before the Taxol chemo took away my ability to walk. It was monumental for me – hiking further than I had before – bald and fighting off the cognitive fog and physical neuropathy caused by the chemo. I’m a little bit amazed that I managed it.
This year is the 20th year of the Peak Hike. We are part of a team – Em the Gem – who have being doing the hike since it began. The team captain has become a friend and was one of my many walking buddies. The ‘honer family’ have helped me with rides to chemo and provided us with dinners after my surgery. We are honered to be part of the family …
The Peak Hike will be an interesting transition for me. It will happened at almost the one year post chemo mark. This is the point where we start to figure out what neuropathy is permanent. It represents a reset in the expectations – at this point the expectation is that the neuropathy will go away – we’ll see. Looking at it now, I’ll be happy if I can make the 7 mile hike. It will be just as momentous this year as it was last, only this time I’ll have hair – so my struggles will not be so obvious to those around me.
The Breast Cancer Fund looks at research and works towards changing public policies and educating people about things that might lead to breast cancer. They are focused on prevention rather than treatment after the fact.
If you’d like to contribute to our fundraising for the Peak Hike, you can use these links – Thank-you!