Yesterday I spoke of wishing to learn the ability cope with little problems (major organ dysfunction) without getting worked up. I don’t know that today I was any more calm about my liver issues. I did however cope with a smaller problem with a much more calm demeanor. I continue to try to skate ski daily even with our rapidly dwindling snow. I just can’t bring myself to start walking or running again. The skiing seems to be so much easier and more enjoyable for my body. I have really enjoyed the last month of fast moderately icy conditions which seem less treacherous with a relatively normal platelet count, meaning I know I would not bleed to death if I crashed. The temperature has been relatively balmy with my improving hemoglobin counts. The extra ability to carry oxygen also seems to make the skiing more like my good old days when I was actually in good shape.
This morning I got a bit of a late start as I let Brooke get a little extra sleep in. When I got to the trails the temperature was already around 40 degrees which usually means wet slow snow. The cool night, decent shade, and weak northern sunlight had allowed the trail to stay a bit firm. I got out and after about 4 kilometers started feeling a bit dragged down. Obviously given my recent labs I was a bit concerned I was making a turn for the worse but I calmed myself by remembering I was out enjoying one of my favorite past times. I figured slowing down would help and shedding a layer of clothing might be beneficial. As I took off my coat I looked at my ski and noticed it was broken.
This was no little side wall chip. The entire sidewall of my skinny little skate ski was ripped off reveling the flimsy wood honeycomb core. I sort of did a double take. I put a little extra pressure on the ski and sure enough it was quite floppy and the sidewall was bowing out the other side. Clearly the ski was not really fit for an hour or more ski which I would have liked to get in. I was just about as far away from the car as I could be. This was a the point where I really thought I was being given a opportunity to test my new found desire to not overreact. A few years ago I would have been pissed off. Not for long but I would have been mad that I likely just wasted a 30 minute drive, and a beautiful morning chance to ski because of a dam equipment failure.
Instead of an overreaction or usual few moments of cursing I just closed my eyes. I felt the slight warmth of the sun, I listened to the creek I stood by as it gurgled it’s way through the icy streambed and under the snow bridges that remained. I opened my eyes and took in the looming peaks of the front range of the Chugach and the few early willow buds on the trees. No one else was around except a raven who made what I could have mistaken as a laughing noise. I decided the broken ski wasn’t going to take away my chance to ski. I switched the skis on my feet so the dismantled edge was on the outside of my foot to better cope with the pressure. Then I just skied off like it wasn’t there. This plan lasted about 30 meters before I realized I would have to ski on my tip toes on the ski that was broken. I wasn’t going to let the failure get me down. I decided that not only would I not just turn back and go the easy way but that I would finish out the Spencer loop (multiple hills, up and down about 7 more kilometers plus the 3 back to the car). I was determined to not let this little twist of bad luck stop my original plans.
I am happy to say that in fact I did make it the entire way. I struggled and the downhills were a bit sketcher than I would have liked given trying to balance on one skate ski in wet, occasionally sticky snow. I made it work though. I didn’t get overly frustrated. I didn’t even curse. I tried to equate this event, if only metaphorically, to my continued struggle with leukemia and its ramifications. I had a plan this morning just like I have a plan in life, to enjoy the journey. As in my ski I have somewhere I want to get to in life, old age. I don’t know if persistence will really pay off in dealing with a cancer as it did today. I can say the ski was actually fun and exciting in a way I hadn’t planned. I hope my future turns out like today’s ski. I can make it even if I am a bit beat up.
Head Up, Heart Strong. I need a cure.