I have always loved the Olympics. Always. I used to dream of participating one day. When it became clear that I was not going to make the US track team simply by donning a beanie (sporting the Olympic rings) while I ran around the block (winded), I began to dream about attending the Olympics.
The Winter Olympics were in full swing three weeks ago when I had a bilateral mastectomy. With all of my vivid Olympic imaginings, I can honestly say that I never pictured watching from a hospital bed.
My favorite commercial during the games featured a series of amputees participating in high level activities – including Paralympic sports. The tag line was “Start your impossible….” I felt such kinship with those amputees. I, too, had lost part of my body in a rather shocking and stark fashion. I, too, was left with sizable scars. I, too, refused to feel like a victim.
Now, I am not suggesting that losing your leg or arm is on the same playing field as having a double mastectomy. But, I am here to tell you that I do, in fact, feel like an amputee of sorts. An amputee without a sporting category at the Paralympics. Although I think that I am now perfectly built for that horrifying sled ride – “Skeleton” – where they flop face down on a toboggan and careen down the mountain. The flopping would now be seamless – and presumably aerodynamic.
I may not be recognizable as an amputee, but I am totally down with the whole idea of “Start your impossible….” With faith, everything is possible. EVERYTHING. So, now my dreams include heroic endeavors that may not put a medal around my neck – but may make a difference in the life of another. The draw of the Olympics is coming together for a common purpose. Maybe I have always loved that because that is how I believe life should be?