Mind Games

If you recall my recent blog titled "I'm Weird"I discussed the recent growth of additional nodules in my peritoneal cavity. At the time we were not sure if they were mets or abysses. My Oncologist was going to sit down with the radiologist and further review the scans to see what they could discern. Today I found out that the cancer has metastasized further.  As you can imagine this isn't the news I was hoping for. 

But it's here and there is no value in lamenting the discovery itself cause umm, it's here. It's a fact now.

The question is what do we do with this information? How do we manage it? What does it impact? Is there a short term plan, a long term plan? 

As you can see this journey has it's turns, each with a story and each with a decision tree of ups, downs and sideways.

As I mentioned in one of my first posts, or was it in the description of the blog, hmmm I cannot remember. Either way, in that post I mentioned that this journey was like playing a game of squash and giving cancer a 9 point lead out of a game up to 11. And everyone knows Cancer is a killer competitor. I've always suspected that this was going to be a big challenge, and I always knew, and still know, that to win that game I need a combination of mental fortitude, I need to be in good shape physically and I have to continue to utilize the best strategy and equipment at my disposal. 

What I didn't account for, and is arguably the most difficult part of the process, is that this is a long, tiring, arduous physical and mental challenge.  Just when you think you have a handle on the game (sticking with the metaphor no matter how hard it will make this post) cancer has a new move or trick to throw your way.

And today was a tough one to hear especially considering how positive I had been feeling and how positive my mental game had been lately. It was like I was on a real scoring streak and the momentum was in my favour.

Till it wasn't.

Or was/is it? Perhaps I still have the same momentum and this is just like hearing that in order to make it to the finals you have to beat team Brazil in the Semi-finals. It's going to be tough, and odds are stacked but others have done it so pull up your socks and get on the pitch. I'm loving this free-range metaphor game.

It’s deja vu all over again.

Now the sports psychologist, no, the coach in me would have one hell of a time trying to rally the team to come out of this period in a positive mood. Sure the positive news of not being in the penalty box (is it called a mixed metaphor when I put a penalty box in a squash game) can be seen as a rally cry. And by penalty box I'm talking about the hospital. 

But when you keep getting hammered at some point someone on the team whimpers and the dressing room starts listening.

Here is an example of how it messes with your head. After I received this news I drove home and no one was here so I put in the earbuds and went for a walk. I love solitary walks listening to podcasts, especially "How I Built This" by Guy Raz. I have always loved learning how others have built their companies; the origin story, the failure and subsequent learnings all leading to their ultimate success and being influential enough to make it to this podcast. Oh and usually there is a portion where they talk about luck. Most of these founders attribute a portion of their success to luck...I think it's part of the humble gene that great leaders have.

Baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical.

Ok, back to the game and the example of how this news messes with your head. As I was about to hit play on a John Zimmer of Lyft podcast I had this thought - "Why am I still trying to learn? If I'm not going to be here to execute on the learning why don't I just listen to music and enjoy the scenery?"

The thought was fleeting, but it was still there and I wasn't able to unthink it. For a moment I had entered into the 'damn you Cancer you are just going to end up winning' kind of mentality.

And then the internal coach jumps in and reminds you to think in positive terms and get back to the matter at hand - winning the game.

I love games. I hate exercise for exercise sake. Sometimes I have to accept that fighting cancer is sometimes an exercise moment and not a game. 

It's a marathon and not a sprint.

It's cricket, not baseball. 

Ha, such an easy metaphor this sports thing.

You can observe a lot by just watching.

And to be clear, this isn't a new thought, it's a thread you have seen through many of my posts. It's just a bit jarring when you hear the news, it takes time to fully digest and put it in its place on the shelf. Like a trophy.

My most recent trophy being the 9 weeks of not being in the penalty box. If I end up back in there someday I'm sure I'll find a way to get out before the referee figures out that there was a back door and I've snuck out.  

In the meantime, as I've always said 'When you come to a fork in the road take it. I'm taking my own road, thanks Yogi.



Cottage Life

Jim Bits