Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Down....but not out!

A little over a month ago, the Philadelphia Eagles were heading towards an abbreviated season. With a record of 5-5-1 and the Giants and Cowboys ahead of them in the standings, the chances of reaching the playoffs were slim to none. The city was celebrating their World Champion Phillies and questioning the Eagles desire and devotion. Thinking about the city of brotherly love, or more realistically the love/hate relationship the fans share with their sports teams, I can't help but think of the quote from famed coached Vince Lombardi - "Winning isn't everything; but the only thing."

In the fight against cancer, that quote couldn't be more true. While 4,000 people are diagnosed everyday, it is a sad reality that over 1,500 people today will die from the dreaded disease. Winning and surviving is the only thing that matters. This week for me in terms of my chemotherapy schedule is my tough week. I had chemo on Wednesday and 4-5 days into the regimen, I have to deal with mucousitis, mouth sores, coughing, neuropathy in the fingers, fatigue, bloody noses, difficulty swallowing, and did I mention mucousitis. It can be difficult to put one foot in front of the other and times Meg and I can feel down and out.

With 5 weeks to go in the regular season, the Eagles were down and out. During those last 5 weeks, however, they dug deep. With the right combination of offense, defense, and special teams the Eagles went 4-1 down the stretch. Facing the pressure, they overcame adversity and the odds that were stacked against them. Even needing the impossible to happen the last week in week 17 (having two high caliber teams lose to 2 historically awful teams), it all came together and it's a beautiful thing to see.

What about me? What do I do to survive each week? Looking at it in football terms, the chemotherapy seems to be on the offensive. I've got to find the right amount of defense in terms of hydrating my self with plenty of liquids, getting enough nutrition with smoothies, milkshakes, and soft food that is easy to swallow. I wish I could say it was all that easy! These few days of the chemotherapy schedule, the side-effects usually win. I become quiet and rundown, but I try to remind myself like the Eagles and football it is only one quarter or one half of the schedule. It is a tough balancing act, but experience in the fight against cancer helps out a lot. It helps me not worry so much about that ache, cough, or mucousitis. However, during the really tough times, I call in the special teams - I call in Meg and she always ready to deliver.

Congratulations to the Eagles! Your winning attitude in the game of football will carry you through the playoffs, not to mention carry a few of us through the game of life!


Kalisa Owens said...

I really think you have a career in writing sporting event recaps...I am always so eager to hear what happens next or where it is going! However, what really gets me is just how one simple line,"However, during the really tough times, I call in the special teams - I call in Meg and she always ready to deliver" brings me to tears. I just love hearing what an incredible team you are together! Keep up the good fight -we are rooting for you out West!

Meg Rodgers said...

If they complete this run, it might be up there with another great comeback story by a little team I follow.... The 2004 ALCS storybook finish by the SOX, down 0-3 to the Yankees. You know I had to mention it!

Sometimes when you have nothing to lose you go out and make the impossible happen. And you have a little McNabb in you- always calm and composed, taking the higher road with humor.

BTW, if you want to watch the Red Sox DVDs for mor inspiration, you know where to find them.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Dan, like Kalisa, I too was touched by one of your sentences that you've written in your latest post. But the sentence that popped out for me was--"I try to remind myself like the Eagles and football it is only one quarter or one half of the schedule." Oh, yes, indeed, how very true and how astute of you to give that "it" it's rightful due and no more. By discerning that point, you are keeping your sight on the big picture and giving your chemo-treatment week of hell only it's fair due and nothing more. By making that point, you don't stayed mired in the hellish effects of chemo week, using chemo hell week as your lens to view life. No, you are choosing to see the fullness of life so clearly. Now that's having it together in the throes of adversity--you continue to wow me.

ellen said...

Some who want to carry the sports metaphor forward might say you're on the injured reserve list--just waiting for your moment to get back in the game--or that you're watching from the sidelines as your teammates carry on while you wait your turn to come back to the field. Those of us who work with you know that neither is true. When you start your comeback from the dreaded chemo's side effects, we know we will see you in the game again with full voice and that great spirit. That's how we know you like to play on the field of survivorship. We've got you covered for the season and then some. Here's to rapid healing and a better reason to stay home from the office--a big snowstorm is in order.

Anonymous said...

Danny and Meg, I want to comment so you know I read the blog, yet anything I could say today seems trite compared to the eloquent messages already here. I cry that you have to go thru such awful side effects, and I cry for joy that you have such wonderful supportive friends and such a wonderful life partner as Meghan. Much love, mom

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan
Let me know if there is anything you need or I can do - errands to run, meals, food to get - whatever - I know that Meg is headed back to work and I am more than willing to help you guys out-
Hope you are feeling better today!

Kris Lowther said...

Hey Danny...I have a good feeling that you'll come out of this with a Super Bowl ring! (and hopefully the Eagles will too!!) Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers...Kris

hughesd2000 said...

Meg, thank god you brought in a new england team. I was getting a little queasy with all the talk about the Eagles. Seriously though I can relate to the sports analogies and I love them. Hope you all are doing well and using that juicer!!!


Anonymous said...

(Sorry, Meg and Dan, but this is to)--Dear Mom, in response to her post 1/13/08 at 11:32pm;

I agree, Mom: Here! Here! to Meg and to Dan! They are quite the couple--most amazing in so many ways--simply inspiring.

And to you, Mom, your message to them is, well, there is not even a hint of triteness--it is honest, full of love and appreciation and a sincerity that is quite moving--what could be more effective than that?