Playing the Game, Managing the Clock and Surviving Triumphantly

Have you ever watched a sports game where the score is close near halftime and after halftime unbelievable plays are made, a previously losing team outscores their opponent and shockingly wins the game?  Or, have you ever turned on the news or looked at the cover of a major newspaper or magazine and seen the story of an underdog team that forces a game into overtime, enough time to be triumphant?  One of the consistent messages you’ll hear when the team is asked “how’d you do it?” is “we kept playing, managed the clock and believed we could win”.

As a triple negative breast cancer survivor, a fifth generation cancer patient who has experienced the devastating cancer losses, the words of winners resonate with me.  I’ve often viewed cancer as a formidable and undefeatable opponent.  There is something that I call the dichotomy of cancer, while surviving you can feel at one moment invincible and a moment later feel completely vulnerable wondering if cancer could strike once, could it strike again, harder and with ultimate finality.  I’ll never know what my final outcome will be, but I know that I’ve learned the best way to face cancer, to survive on my terms, is to do what the underdogs do in the Big games, to make the big plays that count, believe that I can win and use all of the time on the clock.

When I was diagnosed at the age of 38, I looked at my life similar to a basketball or football game, with four quarters and maybe possible overtime.  I marked my breast cancer diagnosis as my halftime and decided that I’d do everything in my power to make sure that my next two quarters (or last half) would be played with vigor, that I wouldn’t spend a minute on the sideline, playing every minute of the clock.  However, during my five years of surviving I’ve had a slight change.  Playing doesn’t mean that I have to be physically active every moment of the game, but I do need to be constantly working on my winning strategy that does include time outs (see 1/2/14 blog A Restful Mind and a Recharged Spirit in 2014).  But, I’m now looking at more of a baseball paradigm, a game that has nine innings, a seventh inning stretch (break time yay!) and can go into extra innings.  My strategy is to manage the clock by extracting all that I can out of every minute, prepare for a lot of innings, even force some extra innings and survive victoriously.  And I’ll keep playing hard because I believe I can win.

Melanie A. Nix – Triple negative breast cancer survivor.  Always striving to color outside of the lines when defining my new normal.

2 thoughts on “Playing the Game, Managing the Clock and Surviving Triumphantly

  1. I often think in sports metaphors – and like you I note the spectacular plays that can occur. I have interpreted that to mean that we are ALL capable of taking amazing actions (hopefully just when needed). There has been some evidence that the mind controls a lot more than we are able to consciously access.
    I founded the Annie Appleseed Project to gather and share information about complementary, alternative, lifestyle and natural strategies for cancer.

    I enjoyed your article.

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