Friday, May 22, 2015

Round Three (or Fighting & Winning)

Apparently there was a big fight a few weeks ago. It's funny, because I'm actually a big fan of boxing thanks to one of my favorite books, but I could not have been less interested in this particular match. Somehow, there's something unappealing about paying $100 to watch (on tv) two dudes hit each other for a prize of approximately $300 million. (Tickets to the actual "fight" were $1000-$10,000, just in case you were wondering.)

That's right. If it was confusing, let me spell it out for you. Pay ten thousand dollars to see two boxers fight for forty-five minutes for three-hundred-million dollars. This insurmountable sum was split 60-40 in the favor of the victor. This means that one guy went home with an estimated $80 million and the other went home with $120 million. (Although, it should be noted some estimates predict it could be upwards of $100mil. and $180mil.)

So we've got the Boko Haram insurgency, children dying of cancer (or the measles), wars in Afghanistan and Russia, two devastating earthquakes in Nepal, and thousands of other conflicts which--yes, I actually looked up thousands!--I will not describe in detail. All of these other disasters and tragedies are taking place and causing misery around the world, but here in the heart of America we care about... two dudes who fought each other for an hour.

What really gets me is that nobody was knocked out, or really injured, for that matter. I didn't watch the fight but I'm pretty sure if someone had broken a body part (other than teeth, or a finger) we would have heard about it by now. If significant damage had been endured, we would be informed and we would have something to say about it.

Can you even call that a fight?

Maybe my definition of a fight is different.

Maybe when I think of fighting, I think of the young women and men in wars overseas, having to leave their families and children and lives, just to fight for someone else's freedom.  

Maybe when I think of fighting, I think of the overwhelming depression I and so many others have warred against, along with the stigmas of mental illness and the isolation that comes from having an invisible disease.

Maybe when I think of fighting, I think of the people I've loved who battled cancer. For most of them, it's an ongoing conflict. Sometimes they lose, but even if they win, there's always that fear that they'll have to go back to the front lines.

Maybe when I think of fighting, I think of the "abnormal cells" that entered my body and caused a thousand problems (like depression! yay!). I think of the road I have to take and the warrior I must become to reach my destination... to defeat my supposed enemies... to win.  

Maybe when I think of fighting, I think of winners and losers. 

Apparently one of the dudes in this hour-long fight, the guy who won, only won by a "unanimous decision." As in, he won because.... someone just decided he did?

In my book, in order for somebody to win, somebody else has to lose. When it comes to fighting, there is always a loser and a winner. That means the winner takes all and the loser gets nothing.

When I get to the end of this road, I don't want my enemy (the cells, the cancer, whatever) to get 40% of the winnings. I don't want 60% of the victory.


I want the disease out of my body, I want a baby in my arms, and I'm not going to look back. I'm not going to concede any of my victory to my enemy, or be satisfied with only some of the goal. I will not reach the finish line and throw my enemy 40% or even 1% because it was a "good fight." I understand that, at some level, simply being alive is a victory, but I am not near death and therefore the enemy is not the death of my body, but the death of the life I want.

And I am sure, as certain as the sun will rise tomorrow, that I am not alone in this sentiment. If you have truly fought anything (illness, addiction, literal weapons) for any amount of time (a moment, a day, a lifetime) you can understand the notion that the purpose of the fight is not to share the victory with your enemy.

The purpose of your fight is to use your fists or your words or your will to win.

With all that said... if you take a look at the photo above you'll notice a handful of pills. These are the buggers I take every day. (There are actually three more, not pictured.) Some of them are for allergies (because it's springtime!) and some of them are to save my life (because I'm dying! Just kidding.) In 10 days I will start round three of my "cancer therapy." It doesn't kill me, but the side effects are exhausting. While I take the drugs I am tired all the time. I am able to fall asleep quickly, for the first time in my life, but it's almost impossible to wake up. I also have the munchies. My oncologist said this would happen, although I didn't experience it during the first round of drugs. I definitely felt it during round two -- it's kind of interesting, wanting a popsicle one minute and celery the next.

It's a different fight than what some people might consider "difficult," but it is still my fight. Even if it only means suffering from "the munchies" it is still my fight. Even though it means enduring several painful biopsies this summer, it is still my fight. Even if it means tumultuous hormones and being impatient with my husband or experiencing endless anxiety over all of the doctor's appointments to come, it is still my fight.

It is still my life that I am fighting for, and I intend to win.