Playing both basketball and baseball at the college level was something I never even imagined as a child. (Growing three inches per year in high school certainly helped with basketball.) Improving my skills came slowly. I never got off the bench my freshman year of baseball in high school. Thus, I chose not to even play the next two years. I played in my senior year and made all-conference. I subsequently went on to making the all-conference team as a pitcher in college my junior and senior years as well. I even received honorable mention to the Academic All-American Baseball Team.
Being diagnosed with cancer just a few years after college graduation sent my world into a tailspin. My physical abilities would never again be the same. That has been a challenging aspect of life that I have struggled to accept. While my competitive sport years were behind me anyway, it still felt like I was robbed of my youthfulness. I will readily admit that it has been a lifelong journey to come to terms with all of the feelings associated with that reality.
Now, after two bouts with cancer, open heart surgery, two heart ablations, four cardioversions, and too many other procedures to even mention, I am going to try to complete a 5-K for the first time in my life. I am doing it as I prepare to celebrate my 35th anniversary of being a survivor from the first time I heard those words, "You have cancer." Yes, July 17, will mark 35 years since my first diagnosis. I remember working the July 4, holiday in 1986 in an immense amount of pain. I could hardly walk stairs or bend over because of the pain. Unfortunately, a misdiagnosis delayed my treatment. However, on July 17, I received the accurate diagnosis and was sent immediately to the hospital. Surgery happened the next day. Then months of chemotherapy completed the process. I have been blessed with an additional 35 years of life since then.
I will not set the course on fire with my blazing speed on July 3, 2021, but I will celebrate the event anyway. I never imagined I would make it to 60 years of age, and yet, here I am setting another personal milestone of participating in a 5K--and hopefully, finishing it.
The struggles of life can be overwhelming at times. If you are going through some rough times right now, please know of my prayers for you. I pray for people who are carrying heavy crosses of one kind or another every time I pray the Liturgy of the Hours. May you find the strength you need each day to make it through. You can do this. I know it is easier said than done, but just take it a day at a time. Sometimes, you just take it a minute at a time. Remember, you do not walk alone.
Blessings and peace to each of you reading these pages!