Tuesday, March 30, 2010

No place to hide

As I stated when I started the site, I never really thought about my weight until that day my seatbelt didn't fit very well. I guess I used to hide from the fact that I was gaining weight in video games, in work, in my relationships; in anything that would let me. It wasn't until I couldn't hide from it that I did something about it. Nowadays when I'm having a rough time of things, I hide in the metaphorical gym. Whether it's on my bike, in the pool, or out for a walk/jog/run, I use this time to get out frustration, anger and anything else bothering me in my daily life.

About the time Rachelle was deciding where she was going for grad school, we found out that her cousin Rebecca (whose family lives here in New England) was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. She was a high school senior at the time and decided on Assumption college to pursue her degree. She started at school this past fall, but the cancer and the associated treatments forced her to return home not long into the semester.

Over the past few weeks, things had deteriorated to the point where they had stopped treatment due to the toll it was taking on Rebecca. Just last week she was feeling better and went home, but had to be admitted again a few days ago.

We'd been planning over the past few days to join her family for family dinner to celebrate easter. Rachelle's dad even scheduled a flight to come out and stay with us for the weekend (It's his brothers daughter). Last night, only a few hours after Rachelle's dad confirmed his flight; Rebecca ended her fight with cancer.

Aside from the beauty her life gave to her family and friends, she also left a lasting impression on those she got to know during her stays at Mass General Hospital. She started raising funds under the name "Cure with Hope", and raised over $3000 for the pediatric wing of the hospital. She sold bracelets, t-shirts and other items; with plans for more in the works when her illness overtook her. I don't know what's going to happen with this now that Rebecca has passed, but even in the few short months it has existed, Cure with Hope made a difference in a lot of lives.

While Rebecca can finally rest, there are people who fight daily in the hopes that someday no one else will be lost to this disease. Folks like the Lance Armstrong Foundation, American Cancer Society and others do a lot of work to help the doctors and researchers fight the various forms that cancer takes. (I'm not asking anyone to give any money, as each person should choose to fight in their own way).

What this brings me back to is that where do you go, what do you do when something like this happens? The gym? Video games? food? What helps you hide from the pain and the loss, when nothing can help you get away from it.

Times like this also make you think about yourself and your own mortality. Obesity is one of the key indicators linked to cancer. I smoke the VERY occasional celebratory cigar, and have a family history of cancers. The cigar is on a yearly basis, and certainly isn't much of a risk factor; where the weight is something that is a large risk factor and something I need to work to control.

In the end, I just have to keep working, even when there's no place to hide.


  1. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Sounds like this has only reaffirmed your dedication.

  2. Thank you. It does remind one that it's important to make a lasting impression even if one's time here is short. And it made me want to make sure to do what I can to be around as long as possible. We can't control everything, but I certainly can do what it takes to be healthier.