Saturday, January 19, 2013

Holding out for a Hero

People were kind enough to donate a couple of songs through that fundraiser. They were incredibly nice but one dedicated by someone was “Holding out For A Hero,” one I’d heard a long time ago watching Shrek . The lyrics are sweet and the beat is good enough to where it got me to add it to the upcoming Austin Marathon playlist:

I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero 'til the end of the night
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight

As I watched the second part of the Lance Armstrong as watched this fallen hero, this guy who had cheated in a sport, and I watched some of the friends and staff members I’ve come to respect in the organization have to be bashed and seeing people calling an organization that helps people incredibly inappropriate things, it was tough. The cheating by Armstrong is bad enough but what I am disgusted by is the fact that they (he and his attorneys) went out of their way to damage people who were telling the truth. But I am also disgusted by the fact that there were others who in the anonymity of the internet were taking joy in someone’s fall. I am a gigantic fan of MLK and love the fact it’s service day in honor of him. But a man who was a preacher and loved his wife, failed at many of his own morals, having more affairs than most people have relationships. He plagiarized much of his graduate work. But that doesn’t make him worthless, it makes him human though as I’ve said before, it’s not the sin that kills you, it’s the cover up. I’ve got nothing to hide. And I want to stay positive to echo, MLK’s "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
I’ve made mistakes my whole life, many chronicled here. I’ll make some more but I’ll own them and I don’t try to not harm anyone who is trying to point them out. Someone commented on my remarks about Lance, who I have never tried to defend, that they’ve done a 180 on him. They state that it’s awesome that he beat cancer but beating cancer is no more awesome than being born. Both are awesome but it doesn’t matter if you get the gift of life or a second chance at it. It’s what you do with it. And again, I made mistakes in both life part I and II but I am proud of my batting average.

One of the people who seems to enjoying the fall of Lance Armstrong is someone who used to be married to me. A mutual friend sent me her facebook status:
"Here's the problem: People like Lance Armstrong (and my ex-husband) lie, and cheat to get their attention, fame, money, handouts, whatever and they don't mind using cancer, they don't mind using courts to sue the mess out of people, using innocent 5 year olds in video campaigns, they don't mind bullying, altering the truth, redefining 'cheat' , they will twist reality whatever way they need to in order to feel accomplished, adored, and like they won. They have no regard and no respect for the generality of population because they think they can manipulate it in whatever way they want using the media, using 'good deeds', using blogs and foundations. It's incredibly machiavellian, incredibly dishonest, and incredibly damaging to themselves, to their children, to other people and other people's children, to charity causes themselves, to heroic ideal."

I don’t know what I’m lying about. Hell I was annoyed about the fact that the first Livestrong video I came out in was how I screwed up things but I am glad I owned it. And the friends, who have helped through this thing, and my doctors, have had to push me to accept help. I’d much rather be the guy who sneaks out of the hospital to run and qualifies for Boston and is a romantic story. But that’s not the totality of reality. I am also the guy who has cancer and needs to prioritize appropriately. And I believe I have. I have volunteered for races, for Livestrong, for hospitals, for ultimate events, for marathon kids, for a political party (I voted for Pedro) but every single one of those organizations has gotten the exact same answer, I am done about 2 because I’ve got to bike home and walk a block a kid to pick up from school.

The only thing I’m trying to cheat is death. I have less money, no fame, and if people want to judge me for taking me insurance that I’d paid for and the insurance and my doctors felt I qualified for on a disease and it’s side effects, both of which I had nothing to do with, judge away but make sure if you ever have an accident with your car or in your house that you don’t use insurance. No wait, that’s what insurance is for. Maybe there are those whose ideals are that there was a perfect guy sent from heaven who got it all right and we can achieve through effort or grace or whatever your religion is. I am an idealist but I also don’t ever want to treat life like the enemy of the perfect is the good. Obama said a remark when he got elected that the media would criticize as too cheesy but I love it, he said we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. I don’t know if the cure to brain cancer is coming in my lifetime but that livestrong quote continues to be true, my friends and family are saving my life.

And whatever criticism she’s thrown at me to these organizations, the question that no one who talks to me has ever gotten a clear answer to is if he’s such a horrible person why did you sign primary custody over? Let me be clear I don’t think Kiana’s mother is a bad person. I think the diagnosis scared us both and we both dealt in less than the best ways with the emotions of a death sentence. But before that, she stayed home for a year, nursed for 2 years, and worked at Kiana’s daycare with a master’s till she was almost 4 because I think most (all?) good parents think that there’s no point to having kids if someone else is going to raise them. Sometimes this is a financial necessity but I can’t imagine many good parents who think their child is better off with someone else. I assume the comment about suing is about Armstrong since her boyfriend is the one suing me.

Court is set again for next Wednesday, the 4th time court’s been set and I don’t care how long it gets dragged out. To me it’s the same as however long this cancer drags out because each one of those days are extra time with my daughter. With this second video, I’ve gotten some very nice comments about being inspirational. As I’ve said here and essentially said there, I’ve never been trying to be inspiration, just trying to live. When I ran with a stroller, the policeman shouted when I came through again at my mom that I was his hero. And I’ve gotten those kind of remarks a few times. But a cursory reading of this blog would tell you that the coverage of the last finisher of the Austin Marathon impressed me more than the winner. Amy who does Triathlons with a missing leg impressed me more than the guys who set records. Matt who had to relearn to walk and is 4 weeks from his first marathon impresses me more. My mom doing her first half marathon coming from a generation of people who don’t exercise doing her first half marathon at age 60, that’s heroic. While I got an invitation to one of the more elite training groups in town, I passed it up and the group I train with and the group I coached are both where no one who reads this blog would be the slowest person there. And most of the people who help out with both training groups, like me, were volunteers. Tonight we’re having a dinner together. That’s heroic.

Today, I ran 15 miles a little faster than I want to keep for the marathon using the emotional moments from this week as fuel to have a much stronger run than I did last week. Afterwards, I went, actually for the first time ever, to a breakfast where everyone there were brain cancer survivors. There were some interesting perspectives that I didn’t know even though I’d met some of them (I only remembered one). Someone got the diagnosis while they were pregnant and it also started with a seizure and they got rid of their car (they were still making payments). Mine is paid off and it sits in my garage uninsured in hope that someday I’ll get to drive it again. We talked about things that occurred before we realized what it was. I had these moments were I couldn’t focus or think in words for a few seconds and found a way to play it off (the last one of those actually occurred the night before the Austin Marathon of 2011). After the diagnosis, people thought it was because I was getting choked up and I’d just tell them what it was. Before the grand mal seizure I’d seen a doctor but he thought that due to my sports activities it seemed like symptoms of a concussion. He didn’t think an MRI was necessary. It was the same sensation I had when I couldn’t read the menu before this adventure “officially started.” People talked about side effects from the steroids, the radiation, the surgeries, the chemo. Some people had their taste change. One person got diagnosed a month after he turned 21 and can’t ever drink again. He was just turning to Livestrong for help with sperm banking. (As far as my stance on Livestrong, let me state this once and for all. When I thought my dying day was closer, they were there and until it comes, I’m there for them). People talked about how their taste buds changed, vision changes. The only one of my senses that has changed is my hearing. It’s not as good in my left ear but I don’t honestly notice it except when I’m running that it seems like the music is so much louder in my right ear. Also, there are times where I get very sensitive hearing and those are days Kiana and my cousin don’t get to wear heels on my tile floor. One of the survivors use to own a business and he says that he just doesn’t buy the fact that he has less than a 30% chance because that’s the doctor’s job to sell them the worst campaign, the same way he used to tell people that you need all this for your carpet to be super clean. The only worry that we all shared (besides death) is that we all worry more about headaches than we used to. But it’s those human connections that helping with these organizations have made me appreciate me more. And again, these guys some who tried to go back to work, some who immediately left the work force (none of whom are working now), each one of them is trying to do something better with their second chance and that, that is heroic to me.

I am no hero, never have been, and rarely think I'll beat this. Just a guy who runs fast because it's his therapy and for a few times on hills, on a track, or on a long workouts, running lets me stay for a little while ahead of my problems. Wednesdays, unless court gets postponed again, a lot of this leaves the blogosphere and it becomes legal public record. And I need the court to understand only one thing; I am no hero but I am a good dad.

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