What a day I had last Friday. It was one of those days that you remember forever. It was one of those feelings that you never forget.
Last Friday, March 12, I put on my hockey gear, all of it, as I have done many times in my life, and I skated out on the ice. However this time there were so many things different than I had ever experienced before. To start, this time there were about 1,000 high school students from Corner Brook watching me and my initial purpose wasn’t to play hockey. It was to share my story with those young people.
I had never given a speech from the ice before, with all my gear on. I had never spoken to a group in Corner Brook before. I had never been able to participate so significantly in an event that I had next to no major involvement on the organization side. This event was organized by three teachers and a collection of other community supporters who jumped in to make this happen (Thanks to Rueben, John and Glenn). And as amazing as all those things were to experience, and it was an amazing experience to be at the Pepsi Centre in Corner Brook and speak to those students, from the ice with my gear on.
But that wasn’t the most amazing part for me, personally. The truly exceptional part of the day came after my presentation, when I kept my gear on and suited up for Regina High School to play against Herdman Collegiate in the annual “Rusty Cup,” a game featuring teachers from each school. It was the first time I had my full gear on and played a game of hockey since Wednesday, November 4, 1998, two days before I entered hospital and was diagnosed with Leukemia. It was as amazing as I expected, and then some. It is perhaps one of the things I missed the most… playing hockey, being around the rink, hanging out with buddies. It was such a major part of my life for so long, and then not a part at all for so long. It is something I knew I missed, but perhaps I didn’t realize just how much I missed it.
I have long recognized that I have been using my energy to do a whole lot of things that aren’t directly related to rebuilding my body. I have very consciously chosen to build RealTime Cancer instead. Not that the two can’t happen at the same time, just that the energy I have put into RTC has been so significant that physically rebuilding myself dropped off the priority list.
I have been preparing myself for this new commitment for some time and last week’s skate has given me such a great kick in the ass to make sure I take on that commitment. It is time for me to put the rebuilding back on the priority list in a significant way. And it’s going to happen. I’m putting you on notice, that while I might not get back all of my 50 missing pounds, I’m going to make a serious effort to get back 15 or so. From there we’ll see what happens and who knows maybe last Friday’s experience will become a regular thing in the very near future.
Always… Live life. Love life.