Monday, April 21, 2008

Breaking it Down

In all of the difficult athletic challenges I have taken, when things get hard my strategy has been to break the big task into smaller steps. On hard whitewater, I try to maintain my focus by just thinking about each move as it comes and not worrying about the entire run. At the end of the day I feel like I just did a bunch of challenging moves rather than a whole day of difficult whitewater.

On the bike when I am cooked and just need to finish, I'll get to the point where I am just riding from one telephone pole to the next one- breaking the ride down into series of 100 yard sections. That makes it easier than thinking about how many more miles I have to go before I get to eat pizza and drink a beer.

With this cancer treatment I am doing the same thing. I mark my progress with my Thalidomide package. I take one pill a day, they come in packs of one month worth of pills. The pills are in a bubble pack, you push them out of the plastic bubble through the paper, you know the type... Those pills are arranged into four rows of seven each representing a weeks worth of treatment. Each day I kill one more pill and I feel like I got something done. Last night, I pushed out the last pill in my 8th week of treatment. Two packs down. Two months of taking care of business! That feels like a really big deal to me.

When I started, the doc told me I would be in this phase of the treatment for three to four months so, hopefully, I am halfway done with this phase. I have no illusions here, there is a possibility that this treatment might not be working at all and I'll have to go back to the drawing board. Whatever happens, I have got two months of training under my belt, I know more now about cancering than I did two months ago. I hope the whole thing is over sooner rather than later but at least I am getting better at doing this.

I want to share something else...

This guy named Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and given 3 to 6 months of good health. He prepared a "last lecture" titled "Really Achieve Your Childhood Dreams." He then went on to record another lecture about time management. Both lectures are a little longer than an hour long and both are fantastic. They are very worth the time it takes to listen. I downloaded the Audio and listened to them on my ipod. I also burned a disc of both of them from ITunes so that works as well.

His Website is here. From there you can choose to watch the video lecture or download the audio lecture or get the transcripts, take your pick. I promise you will enjoy them. The time management is especially good for professionals who have trouble balancing the demands of work, family and life. Enjoy. Thanks to David and Granny for telling me about him.

If you are just checking in here, I have done two posts in two days! keep scrolling down to read the post I did yesterday.


JudyH said...

Hey Spence,
Was going to tell you about that guy but wasn't sure if that was ok.
I'm struggling big time with what is ok and not ok to say right now. Just know that K and I think of you and S and the girls every day. We may not say much, but we think about you.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog from Fatty's place and have been lurking and reading with amazement at your strength, organization and determination in the face of your cancer. I am truly humbled by the way you just ::snap snap:: whip everything you need into shape like one giant project to support you, all while feeling miserable physically :-( You for sure are an indomitable force on the bike!

I have been struggling mightily on the bike this year, after a rough winter when I pretty much gave up on myself. Gained a bunch of weight, blah blah blah. Then on a ride this morning I thought of you, and told myself to "harden the 'eff' up" (pardon my French; it's a reference to the wristbands Stuart O'Grady and the CSC team is wearing this year.)

I just wanted to say that I check here pretty much every day and got worried when a few days had passed without your posting. So keep strong, and please know that even strangers are pulling for you from afar.

Stay strong,

Judi said...

My best friend's Mom has just been dx'ed with Lymphoma and has to start chemo in a week. She's a wreck about it.

You have a great attitude - 2 months down - kick that cancer's ass.

Sorelegs said...

Hey Barb,
HTFU was my Mantra for a long time when I was first being diagnosed. It still is really.
I was lucky to still be feeling realtively OK when I was first diagnosed so that I could start the work of building a team of trusted friends, family and community around me before I started feeeling really terrible. A Ton of credit needs to go to my wife the chickenhawk for being at the head of my care team!
Thanks for reading.