Cancer is Like a Baseball Season, Flying the W

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My incredibly thoughtful family made me a quilt leading up to surgery and gave it to me the night before I went in.  I love it.

The quilt is made up of Chicago Cubs t-shirts and paraphernalia that various family members sent to my mom and sisters to be included.  Many of the shirts are ones that we’ve worn to games to cheer on our Cubbies over the years.  Being a Cubs fan has been a family love affair for 30-40 years that I think started with my uncle Lane…we grew up at around HoHoKam and Fitch Park in Mesa where the Cubs do their spring training and then got sucked in during the regular season through WGN.  I remember being 10 years old and going to games in March with my dad and cousins and uncle.  I remember working with my dad in his landscape business during the summers and doing lunch almost everyday at Barros Pizza on Gilbert & Brown so that we could catch a few innings of an 11:10 am first pitch.  I love baseball and I’ve always loved the Cubs because it has brought a deeper level of meaning and family to being a fan.

The Cubs have a tradition dating back to the 1930’s or 40’s.  When they win, a “W” flag is flown from the scoreboard at Wrigley.  It lets everyone in the neighborhood know the outcome of the game (an “L” flag is flown when they lose).  “Fly the W” has been a phrase that has taken hold with social media and is now synonymous with a Cubs victory.  You’ll see that in the middle of the quilt my family stitched “Fly the W”.

I don’t know if cancer is like a sprint or a marathon or a decathlon or some other metaphor.  It’s a lot of things.  Maybe it is like a baseball season.  It is long.  It is a daily grind.  It is slow moving and filled with endless pitches, innings, and games.  But at the end of the season you can typically point to just a handful of moments that were the “turning point” or the “critical times” that ultimately determined the outcome of the season.

My experience so far with cancer is that it feels like baseball.  I have about 162 milestones plus the postseason that I need to navigate to be donned with my world champion cancer free ring.  If I think about it like that, I get overwhelmed.  So I’m waking up today and looking at scouting report on who is pitching and what I need to do to be successful for just today.  I’m going to worry about today’s game and then when we win today, I’m going to celebrate and Fly the W.  I’m not worried about tomorrow’s game or the postseason.  Today is about finding a way to Fly the W, regardless of the challenge set before me.

3 thoughts on “Cancer is Like a Baseball Season, Flying the W”

  1. The lady at chemo told me about your blog. I’m so glad because I really needed this reminder to fly the W, I got through another day. Good luck to you my new friend. You have a beautiful family.

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    1. Julie – I don’t think our schedules have overlapped the past two days but I hope to see you tomorrow morning because if I remember right it’s your last treatment for several weeks. You and Lisa (the other radiation patient that is there when I’m there) are bright and your energy rubs off on me too. One day at a time. – Jarem

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