Run Ramón run
A few weeks before Ramón was diagnosed with cancer, he participated in a relay race with a group of friends. The term “relay race” sounds super-fun like elementary school field day, so let me clarify. This was a 120ish mile trail race that includes running through the night, sleeping in tents (if at all), and possibly pooping in the woods despite it being a disqualifiable offense. Each of the eight team members runs about 15 or 16 miles over the two-day period. He’s done this race several times and, every time, the thing he comes home talking about is the late-night trip to Waffle House.
Last year, in the days after, Ramón was more tired than usual, but we didn’t think much of it. He also mentioned that his gums were bleeding at the race, so we bought new mouthwash. We obviously didn’t know at the time that these were signs of leukemia; I figured strange things happen when you run an ungodly distance like that – I wouldn’t know. Ramón had a routine physical scheduled a few weeks later, which I think about often because that alone was a miracle; he hadn’t gotten a physical since I’d known him. After receiving the diagnosis, Ramón was excited to taunt some of his teammates: “How does it feel knowing the guy with cancer ran faster than you?”
Since November or December, Ramón has been training for a half-marathon, which is now only a few weeks away. Regardless of temperature or rain, he diligently follows his training plan, getting up earlier and earlier each morning. On February 9, 278 days post-diagnosis, he’ll run 13.1 miles like there are hash browns at the finish line. Though 2019 figuratively covered and smothered us, we’re here.
Monday is Ramón’s first hematology follow-up of the year. It’s nerve-racking to think that life could change dramatically again in just a few days. But, when you think about it, life can change considerably on any given day – whether it’s an item on the calendar or not. So today is worth cherishing, just like every today we’re blessed to encounter. When the obstacles present themselves, as they inevitably will, I want to overcome them with the same inappropriately high level of enthusiasm as Ramón pictured here.