Eleven years running.
This is literal and figurative.
Eleven years, I've had to take a stress test because of the heart condition caused by radiation therapy.
Two nurses, and one technician later, I was launching off the treadmill. This, too, is a literal statement.
It's a tricky maneuver. You have to jump, electronics and all, to the resting table, flip on your left side and get your arms out of the technician's way so that they can get the all important heart picture while it's pumping hardest.
This time was a little different, however. Voices, dialogue, all commonplace in my head as the nurses chittered on, sorted themselves out until one voice whispered through.
A fragment of texted conversation slipped through the barbed wire and murmured to me.
My friend and fellow survivor, Ali, poignantly pointed out her disdain for the word survivor.
"I prefer thriver..."
Those words echoed as I threw myself onto the table, with a waiting sonic wand being pushed into my ribs.
Since the first patient with cancer was diagnosed, we have all been tabbed as survivors - People who held on just long enough for the storm to pass.
Some more than others. It's as if a prophet spatters you in paint, showing you to the gods as one who has been afflicted. You've been compromised. You have the scarlet letter.
All true? Perspective.
I will sip from this cup. I have my days of doubt, more than some, less than others. But I am thriving.
As the saying goes, I am not just strong for my age, I am strong.
I can move.
I can think.
I can work.
That's not surviving. That's thriving.
We aren't hanging on. We aren't digging in waiting for the tornado to pass by any longer.
The day you walk out of the doctor's office, the hospital, the treatment room - you are replanted. You are back in the soil of life and you have a shot to thrive.
Circumstances change? Possible. Then you replant yourself again. And again...as many times as it takes.
Look in the mirror. Show yourself how strong you are. You may see yourself in a new light - someone staring back that you've never seen before.
Be angry. Curse.
The nurses handed me some ice water. I stared at my time on the treadmill and guzzled. Sure, someone can do better. I don't care.
Many do worse.
Me? I am too busy thriving...