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There’s no easy way to resurrect painful memories. It’s necessary, though, sometimes. Perimeter Drainage has entered a team in the Ride to Conquer Cancer for the past four years, and it’s been easy recruiting new teammates because we all know someone who’s been bitten by this disease.
I’m sure you have, and I’m no exception. Full disclosure, writing for Chris Gray and Perimeter Drainage is my job. We talk about actionable tips regarding construction waste management, recycling, water management, and drainage issues.
I’m a part of Team Perimeter, both on the company payroll and in the spirit of our connection with our health and happiness. These people are my friends, and they understand the road my family was forced to walk several years ago.
I was travelling when I received a call that my mom had been diagnosed with a rare form of bladder cancer. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to say. I had few details to work with. All I know is that I needed to get home, quick.
It was almost like the scene where Forest Gump leaps off a boat at sea. I was home quick. Nothing can prepare you for the first time you see someone that close to you suffering. Dignified suffering, I must say, but anguish all the same. Not for herself, mind you, but for the emotional toll on her family.
I’ll never forget those first few moments.
Because what followed was far more difficult.
After miraculously successful surgery we weren’t sure would work, our days were filled with walks down the hallway of the Royal Alexandria Hospital in Edmonton. What might have seemed like such a small distance to travel only days earlier was now a marathon. Oh, and it was tough for my mom, too!
Back and forth, up and down the hallway. To the end and back, that’s all we needed to focus on. I’d like to know how many km’s we put on the wheels of her IV contraption, but I can tell you that compared to our walks at the hospital, a 200 km bike ride from Abbotsford to Seattle is an absolute pieced of cake.
The odds of my mom’s survival even after the surgery were long. But the odds of her making it down the hallway were long as well.
To the end and back. Check.
There is no room for guilt when it comes to disease. As Bryant Magee said a couple weeks back, it’s our generation’s disease to conquer. It’s going to take some people from us and some people are going to make it. The nature of the community closely connected to cancer is such that every recovery is celebrated, every remission encouraged, and every journey remembered – even by those going through hell of their own.
The support we received from others who’d been down the road to recovery was overwhelming at times. One day at a time, that’s truly the only way to really deal with the situation.
Five years after my mom’s original diagnosis, she was on a snowboard on the top of Whistler Mountain holding a figurative middle finger in the air just to make sure cancer would see her. Before the age of 60, my mom had beaten cancer and accomplished one of her lifelong dreams.
A year after that, she completed the Ride to Conquer Cancer in Alberta. Amidst terrible winds and freezing rain, she made it to the finish. Dead last mind you, but not dead yet.
I remember the day of the race well. I was again in another part of the world. I remember going outside for a jog that turned into a two hour trek of its own.
In my mind, it was all I could do to lend energy to my Mom who was engaged in yet another gruelling journey.
To the end and back.