As March Madness and the NCAA Tournament continues, I decided to reflect on one of my favorite sports, basketball. There’s a lot of strategy involved in basketball: ever watch the final minutes of a close game. Cancer treatment involves a lot of strategy too as each individual’s case is different. Being pregnant complicated my treatment plan but thankfully I had a great set of doctors collaborating and working together to give me and my baby the best care. Just as I had to trust my coaches to draw up the right play, I have had to trust my doctors to draw up the right treatment plan for me.
Some days you’re on, some days you’re off. I was a shooter. Some games I would be lights out, others I couldn’t buy a basket. It happens. It’s the same with going through chemo. Some days I’m full of energy, have a huge appetite and feel great. Other days I’m exhausted, I have no energy and don’t really want to eat. With both basketball and chemo, you have to just try your best and push through. It’s frustrating on those off days or games, but you get through and can bounce back the very next game or treatment.
The scoring and stats get all the attention but someone has to do the dirty work. My role shifted from scorer to facilitator and a more defensive role in my last 2 years of high school. I did whatever was needed to help my team. I am now doing the same in my cancer battle, doing whatever is needed to win this battle. I had to give up work abruptly and immediately and I hated not having everything organized for a smooth transition. But my role as a mom was more important and I needed to focus on taking the time for myself, my baby and my 4 other kids. Thankfully I accepted this role change and left all my energy for where it was needed most with my family.
Basketball is intense. Games can come down to the final seconds. Games can go back and forth. Players get up in your face, there’s a lot of contact, fans are close to the court, adding to that intensity. Chemo is intense just as this battle with cancer is. But just like a game against a heated rival, I have had to grind it out and fight for the win.
Things changed so quickly during a routine ob apt and I knew it wasn’t good. I was thrown into multiple doctor visits and procedures that week and started chemo 2 weeks after this anything but routine visit. There are times in games we may face defenses we aren’t used to or players we have difficulty defending, but we must try to adjust to the difficult situation we are thrown into much like I have had to do with this cancer battle. Despite being small, I rebounded well for my size. Rebounding requires getting yourself in the right position and boxing out your opponent to get the ball. Thankfully I have had an amazing medical team helping put me in the right position to push out this cancer.
Another important stat is assists. I wouldn’t be able to get through cancer and this pregnancy if it wasn’t for all the help and support I have received. In basketball, you won’t get credit for an assist unless your teammate makes the basket after you passed to them. Thankfully my teammates (husband, sweat sisters, friends, in-laws and family, medical team) have made collecting these assists easy throughout this whole battle.
One of my favorite stats which coaches may keep track of is charges. When taking a charge, you leave yourself vulnerable to essentially get run over and draw a foul against the offensive player. During this cancer journey I learned to leave myself vulnerable and take the hits that are going to come my way. These hits may hurt and leave me a little winded and slow to get up, but I’ll get right back and get ready for the next charge or hit. Just like running prepared me for this tough journey, so has basketball. Basketball requires a lot of changes and adjustments. It requires a lot of dirty work and effort to be successful.I never cared about the stats or points, but wanted to be a complete player who left it all on the court. I am going to leave it all on the court in this latest battle.
(I had way too much fun reliving the glory days as I went through the scrapbook my mom made back when being in the newspaper was a thing and so exciting)