LABOR POWER RACING:  Lung Busters, Leg Breakers

Words to Live By

It's Not About the Bike

Lance Armstrong was 25 years young when he was diagnosed with Stage IV testicular cancer, which had metastasized to his lungs and brain. Within a matter of hours from the moment he was diagnosed Lance, with the help of his friends and family, set out to find a cure. He had a malignant testicle removed and had brain surgery to remove several lesions from his brain. He underwent three rounds of chemotherapy, which devestated him inside and out. But throughout his ordeal, this former World Champion cyclist from Plano, Texas never threw in the towel, even though there were days when he wondered if he'd ever see his next birthday.

This is a quote from his autobiography, "It's Not About the Bike - My Journey Back to Life" ( Putnam & Sons, 2000), which I think might help all cancer patients in their quest for more life:

"What are my chances? It was a question I would repeat over and over. But it was irrelevant, wasn't it? It didn't matter, because the medical odds don't take into account the unfathomable. There is no proper way to estimate somebody's chances, and we shouldn't try, because we can never be entirely right, and it deprives people of hope. Hope that is the only antidote to fear.

Those questions, Why me? What are my chances? were unknowable, and I would even come to feel that they were too self-absorbed. For most of my life I had operated under a simple schematic of winning and losing, but cancer was teaching me a tolerance for ambiguities. I was coming to understand that the disease does not discriminate or listen to the odds -- it will decimate a strong person with a wonderful attitude, while it somehow miraculously spares the weaker person who is resigned to failure. I had always asumed that if I won bike races, it made me a stronger and more worthy person. Not so.  Why me? Why anybody? I was no more or less valuable than the man sitting next to me in the chemo center. It was not a question of worthiness."

Lance recovered and in 1999 went on to win the Tour De France, the most grueling sporting event in the world.

** POSTED JUNE 13, 2000 **


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